UPDATE: (AP) — A sensational case of an attempted child kidnapping in a West Virginia shopping mall may have been nothing more than a man being friendly to a little girl.
BarboursviIle police initially said a woman pulled a gun on the man, forcing him to release her 5-year-old daughter. Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan was arrested near the Huntington Mall's food court on an attempted abduction charge.
But the 54-year-old engineer from Alexandria, Egypt, was released from jail Tuesday night, and Police Sgt. Anthony Jividen says a prosecutor will have to decide whether to charge the woman instead.
The sergeant says the mother now says she may have misinterpreted the man's intentions. He doesn't speak English, and police say he may have simply been patting the girl on the head.
BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — Police in West Virginia say a man was trying to abduct a child at a mall when the mother stopped him by pulling out a gun.
News outlets report 54-year-old Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan of Alexandria, Egypt, was arraigned Monday night in Cabell County Magistrate Court on a felony charge of attempted abduction.
This man from Egypt is charged with attempted abduction after a mother says he grabbed her 5-year-old daughter in the Huntington Mall. Police say she scared him off with a gun. https://t.co/AVCNR2iL3m pic.twitter.com/M3lFWH8AP6— Andrew Colegrove (@WSAZColegrove) April 2, 2019
According to a criminal complaint, a woman was shopping with her 5-year-old daughter at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville when a man grabbed the girl by the hair and tried to pull her away. Police say the mother pulled out a gun and told the suspect to let go of the child. The man released the child and was later detained by mall security and Barboursville police near a food court.
Zayan was being jailed on $200,000 cash bond. Jail records didn't indicate whether he has an attorney.