Last Monday, a man was arrested after a West Virginia mom claimed he tried to kidnap her 5-year-old inside an Old Navy store.
Now, it’s the mom who is facing charges.
Santana Renee Adams, 24, contacted police last week after she claimed Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, 54, tried to drag her daughter out of the store in the Huntington Mall.
The mother said she stopped Zayan by pointing a gun at him, prompting him to flee. She used a phone at the mall help desk to tell police:
“I’m at the Huntington Mall. I’m not sure if you would consider it an emergency or just something you guys would have to look into. But a man just tried to grab my daughter and take her away from me. I pulled my gun, and he let go of her and ran the other direction. I’m sitting in the food court now because I got her and ran.”
Zayan was charged with attempted abduction. However, the mother quickly recanted her story.
— WV Mugshots (@WVMugshots) April 2, 2019
After security footage showed discrepancies with Adams’s claims, the mother said the whole situation may have been a “cultural misunderstanding” because Zayan is Egyptian and doesn’t speak English.
Early reports stated that Zayan may have been patting her daughter on the head, but further investigation showed the two likely didn’t interact at all.
The mother and her three children were seen walking out of the store calmly, and Zayan left the store less than a minute later heading in the opposite direction, WCHS reports.
Police Detective Greg Lucas told The Associated Press:
“There’s quite a bit that doesn’t line up.”
On Friday, Adams was charged with one misdemeanor of falsely reporting an emergency incident. She’s since been released on $20,000 bond.
MALL MOM ARRESTED: Here’s our first look at Santana Adams, the mother who Barboursville police say falsely reported an attempted abduction at the Huntington Mall. If convicted, she could face a $500 fine or six months in jail.https://t.co/1Adja1nhkl pic.twitter.com/oZeqJrJMbX
— Lauren Talotta (@LaurenTalottaTV) April 5, 2019
The attempted abduction charged against Zayan was dropped. His attorney, Michelle Protzman, told the AP:
“Unfortunately, as false accusations are becoming more prevalent in today’s social media driven society, we are losing our grasp on ‘presumed innocent until proven guilty,’ and Mr. Zayan has been tried around the world by the court of public opinion.”
Zayan said he didn’t touch the child and never even saw them in the store.
In a statement, Adams said she was “prepared to protect [her] daughter regarding a situation that could have gone worse.”
The mother could face six months behind bars or a $500 fine if sentenced.