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Mom changes abduction tale, says man may have just been nice

April 3, 2019

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (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.