Police officers in Dunedin, Florida have arrested Jeff Stephen Mills for one count of luring and enticing a child. He is additionally being charged with two counts of simple battery.
One eight-year-old child alerted his parents that a stranger had attempted to abduct him on Friday afternoon. Authorities were informed, and they caught up with the suspect on Sunday morning. Reports indicate that Mills had also made unwanted contact with two twelve-year-old children in the area.
Once in custody, the suspect confessed to making contact with the twelve-year-old children and speaking with the eight-year-old. He admitted to hugging the twelve-year-old boys.
The suspect’s father, Edward Mills, has explained to news reporters that his son is mentally ill, and his recent arrest is just one giant misunderstanding. He explains that his son suffers from bipolar disorder, but he doesn’t believe his son has ever intended to harm any children.
The father told news reporters that he was actually in the vehicle with his son when the incident with the eight-year-old occurred. He claims that the duo were in their car together when Mills noticed the young boy. The younger boy was carrying a backpack that appeared to be ill-fitting, so the suspect jumped out of the car to offer the boy an extra backpack they had in their vehicle. Mills actions scared the young boy who took off running down the street. The father admits that his son’s actions may have scared the boy, but he thinks the arrest is unwarranted.
Jessica Macksey, a spokeswoman for the police department, has stated that the authorities were unaware of the suspect’s mental illness. The department is expected to reach out to the suspect’s family for more information.