Police have released an Egyptian man and dropped abduction charges after investigating claims that he tried to ‘violently’ kidnap a 5-year-old West Virginia girl in a mall this week.
Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, an engineer from Egypt, has been released from jail after a West Virginia mom told police she had been wrong about him trying to kidnap her daughter, calling it a "cultural misunderstanding."https://t.co/rhr1HDf7Bj pic.twitter.com/4ABt3JI88F
— WHSVnews (@WHSVnews) April 3, 2019
According to a report from CBS WYKT News, the woman called authorities on the man after he “attempted to grab her 5-year-old daughter by the hair and abduct her from the store” at the Huntington Mall. Police found and arrested the 54-year-old engineer in the food court shortly after the incident occurred.
During the investigation, Barboursville Police came to the conclusion that there was no attempted kidnapping. In fact, it turns out that Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan was actually just patting the girl’s head while he had a smile on his face.
The mother said that it was just a ‘cultural misunderstanding.’
During the incident, the mother stated that Hussein Zayan approached her in an Old Navy store and attempted to lead her daughter away by the hair. She told police that she pulled out a gun to try and scare the man away from her daughter. She later recanted that statement. In fact, during the investigation, police noted that her original statements did not line up with security footage recovered from inside the mall.
Following the arrest, Hussein Zayan faced charges of felony attempted abduction and bail was set at $200,000. All charges have now been dropped.
The child’s mother said that “the more she thought about it, the more she realized it might have been a cultural misunderstanding and that the suspect might have just been patting her daughter on the head and smiling.”
Police have not released any information regarding any charges that the mother may face. Authorities noted that if she was to face any criminal charges, it was in the hands of the state prosecutor.
Mohammad Fathy Hussein Zayan speaks to the media after an attempted abduction charge that had been filed against him after his arrest at the Huntington Mall was dismissed today by the Cabell County prosecutor: https://t.co/5EesQ96qQW pic.twitter.com/thxEOG26Iv
— Eyewitness News (@wchs8fox11) April 4, 2019
Hussein Zayan was released from police custody and “was emotional as he was released to his family waiting outside the Western Regional Jail – openly crying with them.”
Hussein Zayan may still face battery charges, police said.