Good Samaritan tries to help lost toddler…and it goes horribly wrong

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A good Samaritan was at the receiving end after he tried to help a wandering 2 year old girl,reunite with her parents. The 2 year old became separated from her parents during a busy softball game at a park in Florida.

A Good Samaritan in the crowd luckily noticed the toddler was by herself, looking lost, and decided to help,however, his kindness became his undoing .

The father and local businessman was knocked to the ground and beaten by the girl’s father who thought she was being kidnapped.
Even after police officers intervened and acquired the Good Samaritan of any misconduct,the girl’s father, Austin Strickland, and other members of his family went to social media and posted the Good Samaritan’s name, place of employment – even pictures of him and his children which went viral.

One post from a family member read “This guy tried to take my little cousin today, so twitter [sic] do ya thing.”

The man and his family left town, afraid for their lives after receiving threats.

According to Lakeland Police Department ..

During a game, a 2-year-old child got separated from her parents. A citizen who was at the at the game visiting a few friends noticed the young girl wandering by herself and believed that she was lost. The citizen attempted to ask the girl where her parents were and walked with her in hopes she could point them out.

At least one independent witness stated they observed the citizen walking with the child trying to help find her parents.
The parents were alerted by bystanders that the citizen was walking towards a playground and feared that the citizen was attempting to kidnap the child.

This was not the case. Several softball players including the child’s father stopped the citizen and recovered the lost child. Police officers thoroughly investigated this incident, interviewed witness and based upon their investigation, no crime was committed. The citizen does not have a criminal history and officers verified that he was infact there visiting friends.
It is our highest priority to investigate any incidents involving children and the Department stands behind the officer’s investigation. It’s understandable how parents can possibly be upset in a situation involving a lost child. However, this incident truly involved a good samaritan trying to assist a lost child finding their parents.

Accounts of this incident have circulated on social media with false information and speculation. Posting false information on Facebook could cause a defamation of character claim and those posting false information could be held liable. Be careful about what you post on social media so as not to victimize an innocent person.