BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — Police say charges could be changed or dropped against a man who was originally arrested Monday night for allegedly trying to abduct a five-year-old girl inside the Huntington Mall.


Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan

At a Tuesday evening news conference, Barboursville police said they reviewed surveillance video of where the encounter took place and there were inconsistencies in the mother’s story. She later told police she may have overreacted and it’s possible Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan was patting her daughter on the head. She called it a possible “cultural misunderstanding.”

Zayan, an engineer from Alexandria, Egypt, was released on a reduced bond from the Western Regional Jail on Tuesday. He was crying when he was greeted by family members.

The mother originally claimed she and her daughter were shopping in the Old Navy store when Zayan approached them. She tells police he then grabbed the child by the hair and started dragging her away. The mother pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot Zayan who let go of the girl and fled the store.

He was found a short time later at the Mall’s food court by police and identified by the victim.

Police said Zayan could still face a battery charge. An attempted abduction charge has not been officially dropped.

Barboursville police said Tuesday the incident was isolated and the Huntington Mall is safe