Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

'Good Samaritan' Beaten, Called a Kidnapper After Helping Lost Child

'Good Samaritan' Beaten, Called a Kidnapper After Helping Lost Child

It all started at the Southwest Sports Complex in Lakeland on Saturday when a 2-year-old girl wandered away from her parents during a softball game. "The parents were alerted by bystanders that the citizen was walking towards a playground, which is near the parking lot, and feared that the citizen was attempting to kidnap the child". Police confirmed the Samaritan's account after talking with nearby witnesses who said they saw the man asking about the girl's parents.

"I thought he was trying to take my daughter", the girl's said during a phone interview.

"This guy is a father, a local businessman, has two children, was trying to help this child but they turned it completely around", Gross told the station, "And that's not right".

When asked by WFLA if the he bought the man's version of events the father responded, "No".

A good Samaritan did what nearly anyone would do: try to reunite a lost child with his or her family.

'When I got there, I just swung on him, ' Strickland said.

The warning seemed to work and numerous posts vilifying the man were taken down. As they passed men along the way he asked her if they were her father. Patel does not have any criminal history and was at the park visiting friends. "I wanted to kill him".

"Be careful about what you post on social media so as not to victimize an innocent person", the department said.

The police department said it "thoroughly investigated" the incident and concluded that no crime was committed.

A Florida man who police say was trying to help a missing toddler locate her parents over the weekend ended up beaten and shamed on social media by the child's family after they mistook him for a kidnapper, according to a report. 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.

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. "Posting false information on Facebook could cause a defamation of character claim and those posting false information could be held liable", reads the statement. "Before posting information on matters such as this, we encourage people to identify the source and the validity of such claims before sharing them". All in all I'm happy this little girl is safe though.

Before posting to social media, police suggest calling police to verify what happened and get correct information.

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