Police say Brian Sellen took the little Mila after attacking his estranged partner at the Beachview Inn on Front Street near Second Street around 5 a.m. Police say Seller then took Mila to a nearby apartment and began an hours-long standoff with police.
Mila was rescued around 4 p.m. The heartwrenching reunion between her and her grandmother was broadcast live on ABC7 News.
"I just yelled and screamed for joy that now she's safe and we know that she's going to be okay... she's back with us again," said Aretha Anderson, Mila's stepgrandmother.
Mila's mother is currently in a Salinas hospital where she is expected to undergo surgery for her injuries, family members say.
Police asked the grandmother to leave her daughter's bedside at the hospital to come to the scene in Santa Cruz to help with negotiations. Chief Andrew Mills is calling the grandmother a hero.
"This is why you become a police officer to do these kinds of things where you bring safety to a community and help rescue a child... it worked out perfectly," said Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills. "Our officers, detectives, allied agencies did a wonderful job."
Suspect Brian Sellen is in police custody on charges related to kidnapping, child endangerment and domestic violence.
@SantaCruzPolice this is why we choose this profession. Baby rescued, suspect in custody and no one else hurt. It’s a good day. Thanks to all allied agencies. @SantaCruzSO1 @CHPscrz @WatsonvillePD @CapitolaPolice #scottsvalleypd @UCSCPolice @santacruzfire #LOCALMEDIA pic.twitter.com/XrGCnnbhkC— Andrew Mills (@ChiefAndyMills) January 18, 2020
#NOW: #SantaCruz police tell us Brian Sellen kidnapped his 1 y.o. daughter from his estranged partner at the Beachview Inn on Front St. near 2nd St. They believe he’s holed up inside a nearby apartment and have made repeated calls for him to surrender. Area remains blocked off. pic.twitter.com/rOn9LceScf— Chris Nguyen (@ChrisNguyenABC7) January 17, 2020