Laura Williams, Office of
Media Relations & Public Affairs
CHILD ABDUCTION QUICKLY THWARTED WITH HELP OF CRIME CENTER
Grandmother of Boy, 3, Arrested After Taking Him From Sitter’s Home
What began as the apparent abduction of a 3-year-old boy by a family member Wednesday morning was quickly thwarted by deputies and ended peacefully, thanks to information technology used by crime analysts in our Volusia County Crime Center, known as VC3.
Sheriff’s deputies were alerted at 10:21 a.m. about the incident at a home in the 2300 block of Tomoka Woods Parkway, DeLeon Springs. The 25-year-old pregnant victim called law enforcement and reported a female subject had forced entry into her home, battered her and took her roommate’s child, whom she was babysitting.
The suspect turned out to be the child’s grandmother, who was not permitted to take care of the boy due to substance abuse issues.
Despite having minimal information to go on, by 10:26 a.m., Crime Center analysts had already identified the suspect and her vehicle, and distributed a photograph of the vehicle by email. At 10:31 a.m., a deputy located the vehicle as it fled the area on International Speedway Boulevard.
A traffic stop was performed at the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Valencia Court. The child was found safe and the suspect – Bonita Soto, 68, (DOB 1-06-1951) of DeLand -- was taken into custody without incident.
Shortly afterward, the boy was turned over to his father. Soto, whose son is the child’s father, was charged with burglary w/ battery and felony battery (battery of a pregnant person). The boy’s father later chose not to pursue charges against his mother for kidnapping.
Soto was transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail where she is being held on $35,000 bail.
The Crime Center is credited with providing all law enforcement officers in Volusia County access to real-time intelligence and support from a team of analysts. The center is tied into traffic cameras, security cameras, license-plate readers (LPRs) and other instant sources of information throughout the county.
In addition to providing real-time support to law enforcement during in-progress calls, VC3 analysts continually assist in active criminal cases with investigative leads that may help identify or locate a suspect or support probable cause for an arrest.