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

Accused Florida kidnapper was actually helping lost child, police say

Concerned, the man approached the girl and walked with her in an attempt to locate her parents.

A Florida man trying to help a two-year-old girl find her parents was beaten up by the girl's father who mistakenly thought he was trying to abduct her, it was reported on Tuesday.

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

"I wanted to kill the man", the girl's father told WFLA.

After the altercation, viral social media posts naming Patel as a child predator created so much trouble for him that he had to temporarily leave the neighborhood with his family out of fear for his safety.

"This guy is a father, a local businessman, he has two children, was trying to help this child, and they turned it completely around, and that's not right", Sgt. Gary Gross with the Lakeland Police Department said.

"The citizen attempted to ask the girl where her parents were and walked with her in hopes she could point them out", Lakeland Police Department said in a statement.

If you don't mind a good beating, by all means stop to help a lost child in Lakeland, Florida.

"When I got there, I just swung on him, Austin Strickler told WFTS-TV".

But the father and his friends and family aren't taking the man at his word.

The father said he and three other men found the so-called-kidnapper and that he punched him repeatedly, while one of the other men grabbed the child. "What would you do?" the father asked.

Police also said the good Samaritan had no prior criminal history and that they were able to verify that he had been at the park with friends. And, according to WFLA and police, people shared the man's photo and workplace on social media and labeled him "a child predator".

People should "be careful about what you post on social media so as not to victimize an innocent person", Lakeland police wrote on their Facebook page on Sunday.

'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 police statement noted that only one person called authorities to "get the correct information".

A Good Samaritan, who was at the complex with a Polk Sherriff's Office deputy, found the wandering toddler but she couldn't tell him where her parents were. Not willing to let the little girl run off alone, the man picked her up and continued toward the playground, still searching for her father.

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