UPDATE: UPDATE: Man cleared of attempted-abduction charge returns home to Egypt

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BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) UPDATE: 4/8/19 12:45 P.M.

A man has returned home to Egypt after investigators say he was falsely accused of a crime, arrested and then released from jail in Cabell County.

Mohamed Zayan's lawyer released a photo to WSAZ of her client traveling back home Sunday evening. She said a Barboursville Police officer traveled with him to Yeager Airport to make sure everything went smoothly.

Santana Adams, 24, of Milton, accused Zayan of an attempted abduction on April 1.

She told police that Zayan tried to kidnap her 5-year-old daughter inside Old Navy at the Huntington Mall but later changed her story, calling it a "cultural misunderstanding."

Police arrested Adams and charged her with falsely reporting an emergency. She faces up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.


UPDATE: 4/5/19 3:15 P.M.

A mom is facing criminal charges after police say she falsely accused an Egyptian man of trying to abduct her child from the Huntington Mall.

Santana Adams appeared in Cabell County Magistrate Court Friday afternoon. She is charged with falsely reporting an emergency incident.

Adams originally told police that an Egyptian man tried to kidnap her 5-year-old at the Huntington Mall. She later changed her story, calling it a "cultural misunderstanding."

The mother reported the incident Monday night. She told police she was shopping in Old Navy and that a man grabbed her child by the hair and tried to take her, adding that she pulled a gun on him to stop him.

A suspect was arrested. Mohamed Zayan denied the accusations and even said he didn't even know what the mom and child look like. He also said a gun was never pulled on him, as the mother said.

Police say Zayan may have simply been patting the girl on the head and smiling.

Investigators confirmed the woman had a gun in her front pocket. They say they're not sure about a motive for making her original statement and then changing it.


UPDATE: 4/5/19 1:40 P.M.

Criminal charges will be brought against a woman for falsely reporting that an Egyptian man tried to kidnap her daughter from a shopping mall, the Associated Press reports.

Barboursville Police Detective Greg Lucas said on Friday that Santana Renee Adams is going to be charged with falsely reporting an emergency incident.

The charge would be the latest turn in the tale of a mother who used a gun to thwart an abduction only to have it unravel amid inconsistencies in her story.

Authorities on Thursday announced they were dropping charges against the man, Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan. Police said he may have simply been patting the girl on the head.

Adams couldn't immediately be reached for comment.


UPDATE: 4/4/19 2:25 P.M.

Authorities have dropped the charges against a man accused of trying to kidnap a child at the Huntington Mall.

The Cabell County prosecuting attorney's office said on Thursday they had reviewed evidence in the case and decided to drop the charges against Mohamed Zayan.

Zayan, who is from Egypt, was first accused by a mother on Monday of trying to kidnap her child while they were shopping in a store at the mall.

The mother told police Zayan grabbed her 5-year-old daughter by the hair and tried to drag her away and that she pulled out a gun to stop him.

Zayan was arrested and charged Monday night.

However, Barboursville police said in a news conference Tuesday that after reviewing surveillance video and talking with the mother again, there were inconsistencies with her story.

She later changed her story about what happened, saying it may have been a "cultural misunderstanding," and that Zayan might have just been patting her daughter on the head.

That prompted the prosecutor's office to reduce Zayan's bond, and he was eventually released from jail.

Zayan's attorney said there was never any evidence to back up the charges against him.

"Our office has thoroughly and diligently investigated this case and there is absolutely no evidence to support any charges or wrongdoing against Mr. Zayan," his attorney said. "We have consulted with local law enforcement officials and we are convinced there is no evidence to support these charges at all."

Cabell County's Prosecuting Attorney Sean "Corky" Hammers released the following statement to WSAZ Thursday after the charges were dismissed:

"After a complete review of all of the evidence collected in this case and after lengthy conversations with detectives and the chief of police of the Barboursville Police Department, I do not believe any provable criminal offense exists against Mr. Zayan. The charge of attempted abduction will be dismissed today, and no other charges will be filed against him regarding the incident."

The prosecutor said he is talking with Barboursville police about any charges that may be filed against the mother.


There are still charges pending against a man accused of trying to abduct a child at the Huntington Mall.

Cabell County Prosecutor Corky Hammers says he is still reviewing the case and the evidence before he determines what will happen to the charges against Mohamed Zayan.

He says he is hoping to make a determination by Thursday. It's still unclear if the mother will be facing any charges.

The woman's name, which hasn't been released, told police on Monday that the man grabbed her child by the hair in a store at the mall and tried to kidnap her, but that she pulled a gun and stopped him.

Barboursville Police say her story was inconsistent. She later told them she misinterpreted what happened.


Police in West Virginia say a woman now says she might have misinterpreted an incident when she reported that a man was trying to abduct her 5-year-old daughter at a mall.

News outlets report the woman told police Monday that she stopped the man by pulling out a gun.

Police said the prosecutor was working Tuesday to either release 54-year-old Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan of Alexandria, Egypt, or amend the charges.

The criminal complaint said a woman was shopping at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville when a man grabbed her child by the hair. Police said Tuesday that inconsistencies were discovered, and the mother eventually said she might have misjudged the man's actions and overreacted to his touching the child's head.

Jail records don't indicate whether Zayan has an attorney.


UPDATE 4/2/2019 4:37 P.M.

Barboursville Police say a woman recanted her statement that her child was nearly abducted at the Huntington Mall by a man from Egypt.

The woman reported it Monday evening at the mall and said she pulled out a gun to scare away the reported suspect. She recanted that story Tuesday.

Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, 54, of Alexandria, Egypt, was arraigned at the Cabell County Courthouse late Monday night. Most charges against Zayan are expected to be dropped. He could still face a battery charge.

The woman told investigators she was shopping with her daughter in the Old Navy store a little after 6 p.m. when she said a man approached them and tried to pull her daughter away by the hair.


A man is facing a felony charge of attempted abduction after he allegedly grabbed a 5-year-old girl at the Huntington Mall Monday evening.

Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan from Alexandria, Egypt, was arraigned at the Cabell County Courthouse late Monday night.

According to the criminal complaint, a mother was shopping with her daughter in the Old Navy store a little after 6 p.m. when the suspect approached them.

The complaint says the suspect "grabbed the child by the hair and attempted to pull her away," and then the little girl "dropped to the floor with the male still pulling her away."

Police say the mother then pulled out a handgun and told the suspect to let go of the child. The mother told police the man then let go of the girl and ran out of the store into the mall.

Police say a short time later, officers and mall security spotted the suspect walking near the food court, where he was taken into custody.

The Cabell County Sheriff's Department was also on the scene to help secure the perimeter.

Barboursville police are investigating and believe this is an isolated incident, and no further danger to the public exists.

The suspect's bond was set at $200,000.

The magistrate says he'll have to surrender his passport and stay in West Virginia.

An Arabic-speaking interpreter was used on the phone at the arraignment.

The suspect's preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 8.



 
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