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Longtime Malibu Resident Says Kidnapped Girl Pleaded For Help

Michael Miller said he called the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department after trying to intervene in the kidnapping of a girl in Malibu last week.

A Malibu man who was instrumental in the capture of a transient accused of kidnapping a teenager at a Pacific Coast Highway intersection said it was an obvious choice to try and help the girl.

"It was not a hard choice. It was pretty obvious," said Michael Miller, who has lived in Malibu for 50 years. "We’re all concerned that our children are safe."

Detectives have said Miller's quick actions led to the arrest of 28-year-old Alexis Fantauzzi, who is accused of kidnapping a 17-year-old girl on June 12 as she was waiting in her car at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Webb Way in Malibu.

Miller, 65, said he was picking up a freezer from the Arco gas station on Heathercliff Road and Pacific Coast Highway for his business, Hibiscus Real Shaved Ice, when he noticed a girl crying in the passenger side of an older-model gray SUV.

"She seemed to be crying," Miller said. "She was very upset about something. I saw her and I looked and she was with a guy. I figured maybe they had a fight or something."

Miller said that he went back to his business, but glanced back at the girl less than a minute later.

"She’s looking toward me and she seems almost hysterical," Miller said. "She’s pleading through the window of the car. She’s pleading ‘Please, help me. Help me. Help me, please,’ I was able to read by watching her lips move."

Miller walked up to the man—later identified as Alexis Fantauzzi—and confronted him.

"I asked the guy who was trying to put gas in the SUV, I asked ‘What is going on here?’” Miller said.

Fantauzzi did not respond and looked down at the ground, he said.

"I stood in front of the car and I said to him, 'Look, you might as well let this girl get out of the car and leave now. If you leave with her, I will have to call the police. One way or the other you’ve got to let this girl get out of the car,'" Miller said.

Again, the man did not answer Miller's questions.

"He just got in the car. I was in the front of it so he backed out. I went inside and called 911," Miller said, adding that he gave the dispatcher a description of the suspect, the car and the girl.

Miller said he got a call 15 minutes later from Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detectives, who reported they arrested the man and rescued the girl.

"The sheriff’s are the ones who really need to get the kudos here," Miller said. "We’re very lucky to have those guys, for them to be so responsive and to immediately get people out there looking for her. I’m very grateful."

Fantauzzi is and is due in court on June 28.

Maureen Haldeman June 20, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Thank goodness for a happy ending ... and thank goodness for people like Michael Miller who didn't choose 'look the other way'!
Jen in Malibu June 20, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Thank you Michael. As a mother of 2 kids, your choice to get involved is what we hope to teach our children to become; good citizens. In a world where people have moved away from helping a stranger, you did not. Thank you for your courage and your kindness. You set an example for all of us to follow.
Jeanne June 20, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Thank yuu Michael Miller for your quick thinking and actions. You are amazing hero. I don't even want to think about what would have become of the girl without your help. Thank you!!
gail goldberg June 20, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Michael is far too humble...HE is the hero in this story! Had he not "risked" getting involved, this story may not have ended in the happy way that it did. Bravo, Michael! I thank you as a parent and as a woman from the bottom of my heart!
John W. Elman June 20, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I hope we can all be inspired by Michael Miller to be more observant about our surroundings and willing to take swift action when things don't seem right. The police cannot be everywhere. They need reports from ordinary members of the community when an apparent crime might be happening. A citizen's perceived observation of an out of ordinary occurrence, and calling 911, might thwart robbers, murders, terrorists, all sorts of criminals. The faster police get to a crime in progress, the better chance they have of having the criminal stopped before completing it, before more mayhem ensues. Kudos to Michael Miller for taking swift action and giving the sheriffs a chance to give this story a happy ending.
SheSharpShoots June 20, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Michael would probably say, "Exactly!" To the statement I am about to make and I don't even know the man or anyone he knows. We are all granted from 1 split second (min.) To sometimes several minutes (max) to make that "game changing" decision. From being part of the problem (by just minding your own issues). To being part of the solution (finding the strength and guts within our selves to just "speak up". That strength doesn't necessarally come from braun, it is strength from within. The guts to be willing to point out what is right and what is wrong. Michael is rightfully being celebrated for making the decision that some just know they would never do. Other that don't know what the heck they would REALLY DO, and the balance that are saying "Wow, I just dare someone to even think about engageing in that type of behavior?Right Michael?
Linda Vallejo June 21, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Michael thank you for your ability, awareness and courage to act on your right decision. Because of you this girl is safe! Emily Shane's angels must have been patrolling the area.
Barbara Jean Carey June 21, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Do you realize you possibly saved someone's life! Thank you is not enough!
Lenny Shaw June 21, 2012 at 02:23 AM
A total hero and inspiration
J. Flo June 21, 2012 at 03:10 AM
May every child have that hero who is willing to stand up willing to save them! Bravo, Michael!
CosasChaparitas June 21, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Clapping for you, down here in San Diego!! Thank you for taking the time to care!!
Ayrton Pseven June 21, 2012 at 04:53 PM
wait a minute... why didn't you get the girl out of the car. call the police let them sort it out with the girl in a safe place?
Jessica E. Davis June 21, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Police records show this guy has a violent history. Michael did what he could and he called the police.
Scout June 21, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Always the Monday morning quarterback, huh Ayrton?
Knucklehead June 21, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Why didn`t you? Oh, you weren`t there to save the day. But at least we know what you would have done. What a hero you must consider yourself.
Kate Noah June 21, 2012 at 06:11 PM
That's my brother and I am so proud of him.
Bob Perkins DDS June 22, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Michael...thank you for not "minding your own business"....your judgement determined that her safety was your "business", most people, I fear, would have just walked away but you possibly saved her life. It takes a "village" sometimes.. thanks Michael!!!
Marshall Thompson June 22, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Everyone commenting here can become a hero by joining Malibu Community Emergency Response Team or CERT. The training in CPR, light search and rescue, first aid, emergency communications is free. The volunteers are a marvelous group from across Malibu's residents of all ages. For more information contact the City of Malibu's full-time Emergency Services Coordinator Brad Davis at (310) 456-2489 ext. 260 or bdavis@malibucity.org. Check out the unofficial Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CERTMalibu.
Jessica E. Davis June 22, 2012 at 06:20 AM
That's very true Marshall. Thanks for the reminder.
renee June 22, 2012 at 03:22 PM
good job michael I would have done the same thing......
Ave June 22, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Just a thought, why didn't the guy try and get her out of the car himself. I am a woman and that is what I would have done, After calling 911.
Knucklehead June 22, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Sometimes reading the report of what happened goes a long way, & understanding that removing a young lady from a car when one does not know the details could lead to unwanted legal action. He placed his body in front of the car, but the male jumped in his car & backed out & away. Plus second guessing heroes are always right, but often too late to the party.
linda gibbs June 23, 2012 at 12:27 AM
So glad you got involved....the world was made a little safer by doing so!!! I am so happy to hear that young is safe!
michael miller June 23, 2012 at 05:24 PM
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR KIND WORDS OF APPRECIATION.
Knucklehead June 23, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Not only a hero, but a gracious one as well. That there should be many more like you. Respect
Beth Sebastian Salazar June 24, 2012 at 09:49 AM
you make the difference! ! I just hope there will be more conscious people like you ...the word is concern to the welfare of others.....God bless you more abundantly in your daily life.....take care...
Thomas Scott June 26, 2012 at 03:39 PM
The bad guy could have been armed, there might have been more bad guys in the back of the car, etc. Many reasons why its better to be cautious. Besides, Miller's actions did lead to a good ending. Knucklehead's got it right.
Thomas Scott June 26, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I've got a daughter and three granddaughters. You prevented what is my worst nightmare; a creep meaning to do harm to a girl/woman. Thanks to you, there's one less threat on the streets now. Thanks Michael!
Vinda June 26, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Fantastic more people need to get involved I once got 86ed from nail salon (vip nails on ventura)because I witness mother abusing her child and confronted her took down her license and called police ..went back to salon weeks later to get manicure and I was denied service ... Would do it again !!!thank you !!! Mr miller ... Scary I use to work down the street from where that girl got kidnapped
Eve June 26, 2012 at 11:49 PM
I hope my children never find themselves in trouble like this but if they do I pray someone as caring as you crosses their path. You saved her life and you deserve to be applauded. God bless you!

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