A former agent with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection was arrested and indicted on multiple counts that include kidnapping and sexually assaulting a minor.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that 27-year-old Aaron Mitchell is suspected of having kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl before making misleading statements to those investigating the incident.
According to federal court documents, the girl was born in the United States but lived with her parents in Mexico and crossed the border on foot to attend school in Douglas. Documents say that on April 25, Mitchell drove up to the girl while she waited for school to start and told her he was a police officer and asked to see her documents.
The girl told authorities that, after she showed Mitchell her birth certificate, he asked for her backpack which he rummaged through before putting it on the passenger seat of his car. He then told the girl to get in the car so he could take her to the police station, but instead handcuffed her arms and legs before driving to his apartment in Sierra Vista documents say.
Court documents state Mitchell then told the girl not to make any noise as he went into his apartment to retrieve a jacket. He then removed the handcuffs on the girl's legs so she could walk and draped the jacket over her body to hide the handcuffs that remained on her wrists. Documents say Mitchell took the girl into the apartment where he turned on a TV and told her not to worry because he was a police officer while showing his badge.
Documents state Mitchell spent hours sexually assaulting the girl, who at times was handcuffed, gagged and blindfolded. At one point, Mitchell had the girl on her knees as he squeezed her neck so hard she started crying.
Documents later state that Mitchell took the girl back to Douglas and dropped her off near the school but said he wouldn't return her backpack as it had his fingerprints on it. The girl immediately reported the incident to her family and later to the police that day.
After authorities took Mitchell into custody the next day, Mitchell told officers that he was in Douglas to look at real estate and claimed to recognize the girl - but didn't know her name - and asked her if she wanted to skip school and hang out with him to which she agreed. Mitchell told authorities that he and the girl watched TV at his apartment but denied handcuffing or sexually assaulting her.
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Documents say he also told authorities that he and the girl got out of the car together as opposed to her staying in the car initially when they reached his apartment. He also claimed he didn't know where the girl's backpack was and denied disposing of it.
However, court documents state surveillance footage from the apartment complex shows Mitchell leaving the car before coming back while carrying a jacket and the girl appearing to have a jacket slung over her shoulders once she exits the vehicle.
Additional footage shows Mitchell carrying a backpack across his shoulder while walking toward a dumpster and returning to the apartment with no backpack. Court documents also state that, on the day of his arrest, Mitchell accelerated past his apartment upon seeing police vehicles as officers prepared to execute a search warrant.
Police stopped and detained Mitchell before seizing his phone which showed he searched in "girl kidnapped rape doug" in the private mode of his phone's internet browser, documents say. The documents note that news coverage of the incident did not yet exist and officers had not yet interviewed Mitchell prior to analyzing his phone.
Court documents also say that, after giving a video-taped statement to police on the night of his arrest, Mitchell muttered to himself after the officers had left him alone in the room:
"B---- is claiming rape. That's so f------ crazy. That's crazy, man. She better hope I don't get out of here."
Mitchell was initially bonded out of jail on May 4 while equipped with electronic monitoring and was granted permission on May 17 to move back to Florida to live with his parents. Documents state Mitchell was indicted on July 13 in federal court and an arrest warrant was issued the following day. Documents state Mitchell self-surrendered to the FBI's Miami office after learning of the indictment on June 27 and remains in jail pending trial.
Mitchell could face at least 20 years and up to a life sentence in prison if convicted according to the DOJ.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Former border patrol agent suspected of sexually assaulting teenager