Quick Response by YCSO deputies leads to Suspect’s Arrest
Although it normally goes without saying, it must be stated again that you should NEVER leave a vehicle running unattended especially with a child in the car. These types of incidents are rare in our community but CAN happen. This situation could have turned tragic depending on the actions and intent of the suspect. All of us at the Sheriff’s Office are relieved that the child is safe, and the suspect will face charges.
Cottonwood AZ (October 24, 2020) – On October 21, 2020, just after 7:30 AM, the owner of a white 2016 Dodge Ram truck stopped at the Quick Country Store on Western Drive just off Highway 260, Cottonwood. The driver parked at one of the gas pumps and entered the store leaving his 4-year-child in a car seat inside the running vehicle. At one point while still in the store, he wanted to pay for gas but forgot the pump number. When he looked outside, the truck with his 4-year-old child inside, was gone.
A witness told the driver/victim that they saw a suspicious male in pajama pants in the area but did not see this person get inside the truck. A short time later, the still running truck was found in the middle of the road on Highway 260 and Out of Africa Parkway. The child was still inside and unharmed and secured in a Sheriff’s vehicle with a deputy. A witness told deputies they had seen the victim’s truck driving at high speed on Highway 260 and stop at the Out of Africa intersection. The suspect exited the truck and walked north across the highway into the desert.
Several deputies immediately began a search of the area to include Old Highway 279 which parallels Highway 260 to the north. One of the deputes drove to an elevated position off Highway 260 in the vicinity of the suspect’s last known location and saw a silver Dodge pickup pulling a trailer leaving a ranch heading towards Cottonwood. A deputy was driving in the opposite direction on Old Highway 279 and stopped the truck which contained 2 men. The passenger was wearing a blue sports coat, no shirt and pajama bottoms. He was identified as 25-year-old Miguel Antonio Ochoa from Phoenix. The driver of the truck claimed Ochoa had just approached him for a ride and he did not know Ochoa otherwise.
Ochoa was interviewed and admitted to the theft of the truck which he noticed was running with the keys in the ignition. Ochoa was trying to get to Phoenix after being dropped off earlier and stranded by his girlfriend. When he noticed the child in the truck, he stopped and fled.
Ochoa was also found in possession of a piece of tinfoil with burnt residue and a straw determined presumptive for fentanyl.
Ochoa was booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including Vehicle Theft, Kidnapping, Endangerment and Possess Control Substance. He remains in-custody and bond has not been set as of this writing.