Man arrested in attempted abduction of a 8-year-old child

Search underway for possible abduction suspect
Posted at 2:05 PM, Apr 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-09 05:59:01-04

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Deputies arrested Jeff Stephen Mills for attempting to abduct an 8-year-old child on Friday afternoon.

Investigators say they received additional information that Mills had made contact with two 12-year-olds off of Lakewood Drive and Dogwood Drive in Dunedin.

Once in custody, Mills admitted to making contact and hugging the 12-year-old boys and admitted to talking to the 8-year-old.

Mills was arrested Sunday morning for one count of Luring and Enticing a Child and two counts of Simple Battery.

ABC Action News spoke exclusively with Mills' parents who say this is all a horrible mistake.

Edward Mills says his son has bipolar disorder. He claims he was in the car with his son when they came upon the 8-year-old. Edward says his son saw that the backpack did not fit the child well and exited his car to tell him he had an extra backpack. Edward says the child got scared and took off running.

"Jeff doesn't have any intention of hurting anyone. He just tries to be good to people." said Edward Mills.

He said his son never told the child he knew his father.

"He's not like that. He's never like that and so that's a big mistake." said Delia Mills, the suspect's mother.

Delia says after her son gets out of jail, she intends to get him some help.

ABC Action News reached out to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Spokeswoman Jessica Macksey said detectives did not know Mills has a bipolar disorder. She said the 8-year-old did not tell deputies there was another person in the car. But with our inquiry, deputies will reach out to the Mills family to get more information.