A Florida woman recognized a potential kidnapping situation on a FishHawk street on Sunday and intervened, leading to the arrest of a 37-year-old man.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said David Daniels approached two elementary school children in the town’s park square and told them he was going to supervise their walk home.
As they passed a nearby church, a woman saw the group and told WTVT something didn’t look right.
“I saw two children on their bicycles and a male adult behind them,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.
“One of the little girls was mouthing to me, ‘Please help me, this is not my dad,’” said the woman.
Deputies said that by the time they reached the church, Daniels had hit one of the children in the head several times and had one in a headlock.
The woman stepped in.
“He was kind of talking over her, right behind her, putting his arm around her neck and saying something in her ear, saying, ‘We just moved here, we just want to see how we can help do whatever you’re doing,'” she said.
She invited the group into the church and engaged Daniels as she surreptitiously called 911.
“I said, ‘Oh that’s nice, where did you move here from?’ He said, ‘Oh, I am not really sure,’” she said.
Daniels didn’t stay long, and deputies found him walking back toward downtown.
Both children were aware they were being kidnapped, deputies said. The woman who stepped in and saved the children said she doesn’t want recognition.
“I don’t want to be a hero,” she said. “I just did what I hope anybody would do for my own kids.”
Daniels was charged with two counts of false imprisonment of a child and two counts of child abuse and is being held in the Hillsborough County Jail on $104,000 bond, according to jail records.
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[Featured image: David Daniels/Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]