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Sheriff: Man arrested after stealing truck with 4-year-old inside in Cottonwood

The vehicle was found a short time later abandoned with the child inside and unharmed.
Credit: YCSO

COTTONWOOD, Ariz. — Deputies arrested a man after they say he stole a vehicle from a gas station in Cottonwood while a 4-year-old child was still in the car.

According to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, just after 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, the owner of a Dodge Ram truck stopped at the Quick Country Store on Western Drive just off Highway 260, parking with the car running while going into the store. 

When the man looked outside, the truck with his 4-year-old child inside, was gone. 

YCSO says a witness told the man that they saw a man 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 with the child was inside and unharmed.

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 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, YCSO says. 

Ochoa was booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including vehicle theft, kidnapping, endangerment and possession of a controlled substance. 

He remains in-custody and bond has not been set yet, YCSO says.

Credit: YCSO

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