Man accused of killing Blaine toddler, kidnapping girl arrested in Missouri

- A man wanted in the murder of a toddler and kidnapping of a 5-year-old girl in Blaine, Minnesota was arrested Wednesday morning by the Missouri State Police. Nelson Soto-Lopez, 24, is suspected of killing a 21-month-old boy in Blaine. Authorities confirmed the 5-year-old is safe.

At approximately 7:07 a.m. Tuesday, Blaine police officers were called to the Blaine Medical Center on Ulysses Street NE on a report of an unresponsive child. The officers and medical staff were unable to revive the child and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The identity and cause of death of the 21-month-old boy has not been released.

Police are focusing their investigation on an apartment on the 1500 block of 87th Avenue Northeast in Blaine. The mother of both the toddler and the 5-year-old is currently in custody at the Anoka County Jail.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension issued a statewide alert for Nelson Soto-Lopez and the missing 5-year-old girl on Tuesday. A joint investigation between the Blaine Police Department and the Anoka County sheriff’s office led to information that Soto-Lopez fled the Twin Cities.

“Information at this time indicates that Soto-Lopez hired an unwitting individual to provide transportation to Kansas City, Missouri, who was unaware of Soto-Lopez’s crimes or that he was wanted by police,” the Anoka County sheriff’s office said Wednesday.

Investigators were able to contact the driver, who immediately cooperated and provided information that led to the capture of Soto-Lopez and the recovery of the missing child.

According to investigators, Soto-Lopez was driven to Kansas City and was met there by his father and stepmother. Police believe Soto-Lopez was trying to get to Arkansas, where he has other family members.

Law enforcement agencies were contacted and an alert Missouri State Police Officer spotted the suspect vehicle, took Soto-Lopez into custody and recovered the missing child. Soto-Lopez’s father and stepmother have not been arrested and are cooperating with the investigation.

“Although Soto-Lopez has been arrested and the girl found safe, the investigation is far from complete and many legal aspects of extradition have to be worked out,” the Anoka County sheriff’s office said. “Charging decisions by the Anoka County Attorney’s Office in the case of Soto-Lopez and Heydi Jaqueline Aguilar-Bustillo are expected soon.”

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