Florida: Man Trying To Help Lost Child Mistaken For a Child Predator

Florida: Man Trying To Help Lost Child Mistaken For a Child Predator

Florida: Man Trying To Help Lost Child Mistaken For a Child Predator

The good samaritan so a little girl wandering around by herself at a baseball game in Lakeland, Florida, on June 24. But the toddler's father said all he saw was a odd man walking off with his daughter.

After speaking with all parties involved, including witnesses who had seen the man walking with the girl and heard him asking her if passersby were her father, responding law enforcement decided that it had all been a awful mistake on the part of the little girl's family.

"I thought he was trying to take my daughter", the child's father told the news station. "This guy, is a father, a local businessman, has two children, was trying to help this child". "An independent witness didn't know the family or anybody said they saw him pointing out at different men, 'Is that your father?'" said Sgt. Gary Gross.

"The citizen attempted to ask the girl where her parents were and walked with her in hopes she could point them out". He believed that she was lost and began walking with her to find her parents.

"So I guess in Lakeland, you can kidnap a child and get away with it", the father said to police.

The warning seemed to work and numerous posts vilifying the man were taken down.

The father said he and three other men found the so-called-kidnapper and that he punched him repeatedly, while one of the other men grabbed the child. As they passed men along the way he asked her if they were her father. They confirmed the man who was trying to help was visiting friends who happened to be off-duty deputies.

Strickland told WFTS that he did not regret beating the man up and was still uncertain whether or not the man was trying to abduct his daughter.

Lakeland police said the Good Samaritan would be well within his rights to press charges against Strickland, but didn't because he understands the father was frantic over his little going missing. "I wanted to kill him!"

After the incident, family members and friends of the family of the child took to social media and shared the Good Samaritan's photo, Facebook page and his business, calling him a child predator. But the good Samaritan got battered on the internet much worse: His name, his picture, his kids' pictures, and where he works - all went viral.

The Lakeland PD noted that spreading false information on social media can have legal consequences.

Lakeland police warned people that the Facebook post contained "false information and speculation".

'Before posting information on matters such as this, we encourage people to identify the source and the validity of such claims before sharing them'.

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