It’s Wednesday, March 31st - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - The ex-girlfriend who was with Aliex Santiesteban when he was arrested Tuesday morning for allegedly abducting, sexually assaulting and shooting a 12-year-old boy this past weekend spoke exclusively with NBC 6.
Police took the 43-year-old into custody and charged him with several counts, including sexual battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and attempted murder. He was booked into the Miami-Dade jail early Tuesday morning and was being held without bond, records showed. Police say DNA evidence and "good old-fashioned police work" led them to Santiesteban. Investigators say the incident happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday as the boy was walking in the area of Northwest 43rd Terrace and 30th Avenue while returning home after going to meet with friends when he was approached by a man in a black, 4-door sedan, Miami-Dade Police officials said.
No. 2 - Two locations will be opening at 8 a.m. to provide 400 Johnson & Johnson single shot doses to those needed them: in Miami Beach at 8500 Collins Avenue and in Homestead at 27401 Southwest New York Avenue.
A site in Hialeah at Babcock Park is opening Wednesday at 9 a.m. after its Monday opening was delayed due to not receiving their shipment of the vaccine. Publix Pharmacy will not have appointments during Easter weekend, so it is canceling its Wednesday scheduling opportunity. The online reservation system will reopen Friday, April 2nd, as usual for appointments for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
No. 3 - Three men were arrested Tuesday in connection with the fatal drive-by shooting of a 17-year-old girl in southwest Miami-Dade back in 2019.
In the early morning of May 24, 2019, Gabriela Aldana was standing in the parking lot of a shopping mall on Coral Way and 118th Avenue when she was approached by a vehicle, Miami-Dade police said. Someone from inside the car opened fire, striking Aldana. She died at the hospital. Carlos Paterson-Torres, 29; Randy Rodriguez-Fernandez, 21; and Yondeivis Wongden-Hernandez, 26, were arrested in connection with the homicide, police announced. All three were arrested Tuesday afternoon in Doral, according to arrest warrants.
No. 4 - Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, a prominent conservative representing Florida in Congress and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he is being investigated by the Justice Department over a former relationship but denied any criminal wrongdoing.
Gaetz told Axios that his lawyers were informed that he was the subject of an investigation “regarding sexual conduct with women” but that he was not a target of the probe. He denied that he ever had a relationship with any underage girls and said the allegations against him were “as searing as they are false.” His comments came shortly after the New York Times reported that Gaetz was under investigation by the Justice Department to determine if he violated federal sex trafficking laws and had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17-year-old while paying her to travel with him.
No. 5 - Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber presented his plan to transform the city's entertainment district into an Art Deco cultural district, which includes enhanced policing, code enforcement and a 2 a.m. last call for alcohol sales.
In a video, Gelber introduced the 12-point plan for a district transformation he has been pushing for since taking office in 2017. In the plan, establishments in the entertainment district cannot sell alcohol past 2 a.m., and only establishments with sufficient security and good records of compliance could apply for a late-night nightclub license. The last call could be extended to establishments nearby "to avoid migration of these challenges to other parts of our City." The current last call time is 5 a.m. To hear more of his plan, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Steve Litz.
No. 6 - The home of the Miami Marlins will be getting a new name just in time for Thursday’s season opener.
California based lender loanDepot announced they have reached a multi-year rights deal to rename the Little Havana stadium that has simply been known as Marlins Park during its previous nine seasons. Financial terms were not disclosed, and the deal is expected to be announced by team officials Wednesday morning. The official name of the stadium will become loanDepot Park. The Marlins open the 2021 season Thursday against the in-state rival Tampa Bay Rays. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m.