Update: Man released from jail after mom walks back kidnapping accusation

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BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ/WYMT) - Update: 8:30 p.m., April 2

A man from Egypt initially accused of attempting to kidnap a child from the Huntington Mall was released from jail Tuesday night after the child's mother changed her story, our crew at the scene reports.

Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, who's an engineer, was visibly emotional as he was released to his family waiting outside the Western Regional Jail -- openly crying.

The Egyptian consulate has been in touch with authorities in West Virginia about the overall incident.

A woman told Barboursville Police that Zayan tried to kidnap her 5-year-old daughter at the Huntington Mall on Monday. She also told police she pulled out a gun to scare the suspect away. The incident happened when the woman was shopping with her daughter in the Old Navy store a little after 6 p.m. Monday.

Police said Tuesday that the whole incident stemmed over a "cultural misunderstanding" when Zayan allegedly patted the girl on the head. The mother originally told police that a man tried to drag her daughter away by the hair.

Zayan, who was released on bond, still possibly faces a battery charge, police say. They did not say if the mother faces charges for changing her story.

Update: 6 p.m., April 2

The Cabell County prosecutor tells WSAZ he is working on reducing a suspect's jail bond after one of the victims changed her story.

Prosecutor Corky Hammers says he is filing paperwork to have Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan's bond lowered so that he can be released from jail.

Zayan, 54, of Alexandria, Egypt, is charged with attempt to commit a felony. His bond was originally set at $200,000.

A woman told Barboursville Police that Zayan tried to kidnap her 5-year-old daughter at the Huntington Mall Monday. She also told police she pulled out a gun to scare the suspect away.

The incident happened when the woman was shopping with her daughter in the Old Navy store a little after 6 p.m. Monday.

In her original story, the mom told police 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."

Later, the woman told investigators that the whole situation could have been a "cultural misunderstanding" and that the man may have just been patting her daughter on the head.

Investigators say it's possible that Zayan could still face a battery charge. They say it's not clear if the woman will face any charges. The Barboursville Police chief said that's for the prosecutor to determine.

Update: 5 p.m., April 2

Most charges against a man from Egypt are expected to be dropped after a woman recanted her story that the man tried to abduct her child at the Huntington Mall.

The incident happened when the woman was shopping with her daughter in the Old Navy store a little after 6 p.m. Monday.

In her original story, the mom told police 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."

Later, the woman told investigators that the whole situation could have been a "cultural misunderstanding" and that the man may have just been patting her daughter on the head.

The woman reported the incident Monday evening at the mall and said she pulled out a gun to scare away the reported suspect.

Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, 54, of Alexandria, Egypt, was arraigned at the Cabell County Courthouse late Monday night. As mentioned, most charges against Zayan are expected to be dropped.

Investigators say it's possible that Zayan could still face a battery charge. They say it's not clear if the woman will face any charges. The Barboursville Police chief said that's for the prosecutor to determine.

Original Story

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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