'Good Samaritan' bullied, beaten and called a kidnapper after helping lost child

'Good Samaritan' bullied, beaten and called a kidnapper after helping lost child

As if that weren't bad enough, the girl's parents called out the man on Facebook and accused him of being a kidnapper, despite Lakeland Police concluding that he did no such thing.

"I saw this man with my daughter in his hands walking toward the parking lot".

No crime was committed and the man does not have a criminal history, the police department said. Family and friends of the toddler posted the man's name, photo, and place of employment online, calling him a "child predator".

He walked with the girl to try and help her find her parents, police said. "But they turned it completely around and that's not right", Sgt.

At some point, the girl started to become agitated, and the Patch says he picked her up and walked her toward a playground in the hopes that he could locate her parents there. "One person today called the Lakeland Police Department speaking with a supervisor to get the correct information".

The man and his family have left the area, fearing for their safety, police said.

Three men, including the child's father, then attacked the Good Samaritan, punching him several times.

Still, when asked whether he believed the man's innocence, the child's father said no. They confirmed the man who was trying to help was visiting friends who happened to be off-duty deputies.

Lakeland Police determined that the man was not trying to kidnap the child, following an investigation. The dad's still not convinced he was trying to help find the girl's parents, but a lot of the nasty posts on social media have been deleted.

'Be careful about what you post on social media so as not to victimize an innocent person. "However, this incident truly involved a good Samaritan trying to assist a lost child finding their parents", Lakeland police said in the Facebook post. "I wanted to kill him".

'Posting false information on Facebook could cause a defamation of character claim and those posting false information could be held libel, ' the Lakeland Police Department wrote on its Facebook page. The citizen declined to press charges because he said he understood, as a parent, the fear of a child being abducted, police said.

Screenshot of social media post shared based on what police say was false information (some elements blurred by FOX 13). "Before posting information on matters such as this, we encourage people to identify the source and the validity of such claims before sharing them", Gross said. All in all I'm happy this little girl is safe though.