The Courier-Record

STRANGER GRABS FOUR-YEAR-OLD BOY

Mom: ‘We were screaming’

Local authorities were alerted last week of an attempted child abduction that police in Farmville have described as a “cultural misunderstanding.”

A suspect, identified in published reports as a 59-year-old Glen Allen man, has been charged with Assault & Battery. He reportedly is from Lebanon, has been in the U. S. for three years, and insisted he loves children and that picking them up playfully is not uncommon in the middle east.

The incident occurred at approximately 12:25 p.m. Thursday afternoon outside Centra Medical Group at 900 South Main Street in the Prince Edward County town.

A 34-year-old mother from Buckingham and her two sons, 12 and 4, were leaving the facility. “This guy walked out behind us and touched my 4-year-old son on the shoulder and was talking to him,” the mother told the Courier-Record. “At first it was no big deal. Well, then the next thing I know, he turns around and picks him up with both hands. My son started screaming and scratching him and my 12-year-old son started punching him. And then I swung around and I took my four-year-old out of his hands and ran back into the building. We were all screaming.”

The mother said she and her sons rushed back into the facility, where an employee witnessed the incident and let them behind a cubicle. “He came back into the building saying, ‘I love little kids, I love little kids.’ And then he left.”

Police were given a description of a white male wearing glasse driving a Medical Transport van, and the vehicle and subject were located in Prince Edward County about 30 minutes later, the mother said. “The company is legit and out of Richmond. But you just don’t grab a child like that. I don’t care what his intentions were — you just don’t touch a child like that. He grabbed him and picked him up and was clenching him. That ain’t no religion. That’s a way to be six feet under.”

The mother says she’s grateful for the response of Farmville Police and other authorities.

The mother said there had been no previous interaction with the stranger until after they left the medical center and he was walking out behind them. There had been no small talk or chit-chat between them, she said.

Authorities, according to the mother, said the suspect has no previous record of such instances in Virginia. “I don’t care what your beliefs are, he’s been in the U. S for several years and should know better.”

She also said the suspect didn’t react violently after her 12-year-old son punched him.

“My son hit him in the head and knocked his glasses off. My 12-year-old’s a big boy, and I taught him well.”

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