Man arrested in Mesa child abduction identified

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Robert Curtis Milliron By Catherine Holland Robert Curtis Milliron By Catherine Holland
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
Robert Curtis Milliron By Catherine Holland Robert Curtis Milliron By Catherine Holland
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz. -- A man was arrested Sunday afternoon after allegedly abducting an 8-year-old girl in her Mesa neighborhood.

Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Tony Landato said the girl was riding her bike in the driveway of her Mesa apartment complex on the 400 block of South Valencia, just south of Broadway Road.

Robert Curtis Milliron, 22, allegedly grabbed the girl off her bike and drove away with her in his car.

Her parents were inside their apartment a few feet away, police said.

Police were called about 1 p.m., and several neighbors said they witnessed an abduction.

Police then received a call about a car crash in an alley nearby, where they found the Milliron's vehicle and the girl walking alone.

Milliron, who reportedly lives just a few block from the girl's home, allegedly fled on foot. Police saw him about 45 minutes later walking out of a check-cashing business a few blocks away. He was taken into custody.

"During the interview he cooperated with investigators, admitting to the abduction, claiming he was lonely and looking for companionship," Landato said in an email to media outlets Monday morning. "He has no significant criminal history ...."

Milliron is facing a variety of felony charges including kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, aggravated assault , and hit and run.

Landato said the neighbors played an essential role in Milliron's capture and the safe return of the little girl to her family.

"This was a terrifying incident for the family that strikes a cord within a community. As you can imagine, a crime against an innocent child effects us all deeply," he said. "If not for the keen awareness of witnesses and swift response of our patrol officers, the ending may have been tragically different.

"When a community responds to assist its police department, there is very little we cannot achieve."

The Mesa Police Department prides itself on its relationship with the community.

Earlier this month, an FBI report named Mesa as one of the safest large cities in the country. Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead attributed part of that success to the community.

"With the trust and support of a community all things are possible. Without these, little can be accomplished," he said. "We value greatly the strong relationship we enjoy with the citizens of Mesa and recognize that this success is as much theirs as it is ours."