Boyfriend faces kidnapping, child abuse charges for taking kid

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Boyfriend faces long list of charges
azfamily.com

MESA -- A Mesa toddler has been found safe after an hours-long search that started Thursday night.

According to police, Brycen Vangrup, nicknamed Buggy, left home with his mother's boyfriend Thursday morning, but neither returned. They should have been home by 10 a.m.

The concern was that the boyfriend, Todd Michael Sturgeon, might have been using meth and showing signs of paranoia.

The search was called off early Friday morning when a family member spotted the Sturgeon's car and called the police.

Officers caught up with Sturgeon near his sister's home in Apache Junction. That's when a chase began.

It started in the area of Ironwood and Main Street and ended in a Wal-Mart parking lot at Baseline and Greenfield roads in Mesa. Police used stop sticks during the chase.

The pursuit ended when Sturgeon's car crashed into another car. He got out and ran, leaving Buggy inside the car. The child suffered some bumps and bruises, a family friend said, but was otherwise unhurt.

"He was cranky and hungry and thirsty and wanted Mommy," Julie Eddey said.

After Sturgeon was caught, he was taken to the hospital for treatment and then released to police custody.

"We have no idea why he did what he did, but we know he was on drugs," said Robery Blaney, Buggy's grandfather.

Det. Steve Berry of the Mesa Police Department said Sturgeon is facing a variety of charges, including kidnapping, child endangerment, child abuse, felony DUI, felony flight and driving on a suspended license.

"There's a host of charges that he's looking at with this crime," Berry said.

The boy's mother reportedly was worried last night that Sturgeon might have been using meth. She also mentioned possible abuse. Police said they did not find any evidence of abuse.

"We were very concerned due to the fact that we did believe he was under the influence of perhaps some methamphetamines," Berry said.

There's a possibility that the toddler's mother could face charges for allowing the boy to go with somebody she knew was on meth.

"That's something that we'll certainly look into," Berry said. "At this point, it doesn't appear that he [Sturgeon] was under the influence of drugs when he left. That's just something we'll have to determine through the investigation."

According to Blaney, the little boy's biological father will be picking him up this afternoon.