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Man Trying to Find Tot's Parents Is Beaten by Her Dad: PD

Man Trying to Find Tot's Parents Is Beaten by Her Dad: PD

During a game, a 2-year-old child got separated from her parents. But the toddler's father said all he saw was a unusual man walking off with his daughter.

Her parents "feared that the citizen was attempting to kidnap the child", according to the Lakeland Police Department, ABC reported. The station reports that the toddler's family had posted the man's name, photo, and place of employment online, referring to him as a child predator.

Police said he spotted the child Saturday at the Southwest Sports Complex. and tried to help her find her parents. "An independent witness didn't know the family or anybody said they saw him pointing out at different men, 'Is that your father?'" said Sgt. Gary Gross.

The man, however, ended up being attacked by the child's father, who admitted to punching him repeatedly, according to ABC affiliate WFTS. The Good Samaritan told police the little girl pointed at this park, so that's where he was taking her to find her parents. That Good Samaritan tells 10News he left Lakeland because he was afraid of more retaliation.

The warning seemed to work and numerous posts vilifying the man were taken down.

Strickland says he punched the other man maybe a half-dozen times.

Still, when asked whether he believed the man's innocence, the child's father said no.

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Patel was in the area with a friend, who just happened to be a Polk Sheriff's Office deputy, according to Fox 13.

Police say the Good Samaritan who got punched didn't want to press charges against the dad.

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.

Utpaul Patel, the Good Samaritan who police say was trying to locate the young girl's parents after she wandered off a ball field, moved away from his hometown of Lakeland after he was erroneously labeled a child predator on social media. "Posting false information on Facebook could cause a defamation of character claim and those posting false information could be held liable", reads the statement. The author accused him of trying to take the girl. "Before posting information on matters such as this, we encourage people to identify the source and the validity of such claims before sharing them", Gross said.

Police, however, called him a "good Samaritan" in their statement. All in all I'm happy this little girl is safe though.

"Accounts of this incident have circulated on social media with false information and speculation".

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