CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Police have released new details on an incident some believe was an attempted kidnapping at James Island County Park, but officers say was not.
Social media posts over the weekend warned parents of a suspicious man using a young girl to lure other children toward him at the park Saturday afternoon. One poster claimed police arrived and searched for a suspicious man without results, but that after officers left the scene, the man reappeared and a mother caught him trying to grab her son.
On Monday, a representative for the Charleston Police Department sent Live 5 News a report that revealed new information on the incident while maintaining that there was no attempted abduction at the park.
The report states the woman that called police in reference to the suspicious man told officers she never saw the man touch any children, or try to abduct them.
Witnesses say officers responded about 20 minutes after the man and child left the park. Other witnesses told responding officers they didn't see either of them doing anything suspicious.
The officers also made contact with managers at the park, who said they did not see anything out of the ordinary. The report says no parents flagged down officers or park managers in reference to a child being abducted or touched, or seeing suspicious behavior. It says a park manager stayed in the area after police patrolled the area and did not observe the man in the park or playground.
The original complainant called police to her home about two hours later, saying she saw other parents posting about a man that matched the description she provided officers earlier. She added that the man asked her strange questions at the park, what she believed to be an attempt to distract her from watching her child. She said she could not remember what the questions were.
The woman said the man had a speech impediment, kept pointing toward the woods, and wanted to play with children at the park, including hers.
She said she saw on Facebook posts that the man's name might be Donny.
At 7 p.m. Saturday an officer was called to the home of a woman claiming the man being described on Facebook matched the description of her ex-boyfriend, who she shares a daughter with, and is also a registered sex-offender. She said the man had permission to be at the park with their daughter on that day, and that she didn't fear for the child's safety. The woman was also at the park walking her dog, and said she didn't see anything suspicious.
The Charleston Police Department posted to its Twitter account Sunday disputing the claims on social media, saying the man there with his daughter and did not attempt to abduct anyone.
"This story grew legs [because] of social media," the tweet from Charleston police read.