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Man returns home after charges dropped in Huntington Mall incident

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — The Egyptian man arrested at Huntington Mall last week on an attempted abduction charge who had all charges dropped less than 72 hours later is back home in Alexandria, Egypt.

Chris Tatum

Barboursville Mayor Chris Tatum said Monday on MetroNews “Talkline” Mohamed Zayan, an engineer who was working in the area, was already scheduled to return home before the mall incident.

It was some kind of week for Zayan. He was charged last Monday after Santana Renee Adams called 911 and reported Zayan had grabbed the hair of her 5-year-old daughter and attempted to drag her away and he only stopped when she pulled out a gun to threaten him. Adams recanted the story a day later and all charges were dropped against Zayan by Thursday. Adams was arrested Friday on a charge of of falsely reporting an emergency.

“No touch, no gun, no nothing,” Tatum said about Adams’ story.

Tatum said Barboursville police officers acted swiftly and properly based on the information that had to go on initially. He said their good work continued when they noticed Adams’ account of what happened didn’t match up with security video from Old Navy.

Tatum said he apologized to Zayan.

Santana Renee Adams

“I said, ‘I hope you know that we’re going on information that we received. We felt like it was good information at that point and it’s sad that one person is responsible for making this whole incident happen. Please don’t think that’s indicative of how Barboursville is,'” Tatum said.

Tatum said Zayan is a nice man. He said there were handshakes and hugs when he was told all charges were being dropped.

Barboursville police worked with Yeager Airport officials Saturday to make sure Zayan had no problems boarding his flight. A few officers made the trip to Charleston with him, Tatum said.

“They all took pictures together and when they landed in Paris, they all took a group selfie and sent it back to all of us and said, ‘Only one more leg to go home.’ We feel like that he felt good about it. We feel good about it. The proper person was brought to Justice,” Tatum said.

Social media played a role in spreading what Tatum called “fallacies” about the initial incident, calling it a “firestorm.”

“The way that information travels these days is both detrimental and good too. For as much good as social media does it can be just as harmful,” he said.

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