Handling of 'abduction' case involving teen has been absurd

I know that in this paranoid world, you never approach a small child who is by herself, take her by the hand and walk out of a store with her in search of mommy.

But I am not 14 years old.

I am not Edwin.

Last week, Edwin went to the Burlington Coat Factory store on West Colonial Drive with his mother.

He saw a 3-year-old girl without a parent. If he had it to do all over again, if he could see the cops, the handcuffs, the TV cameras and the jail cell all awaiting him, I imagine the last thing he would have done was try to help her.

But he did.

I pieced together what happened from the investigative report, a 911 call, surveillance video, news reports and interviews with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Edwin approached the girl and told her he would find her mother. Edwin's mother said she saw the two together, asked Edwin what was going on, and then said she would help.

Then Edwin made his big mistake. He thought the girl's mother might be among a group of women that he saw leaving the store. So off he went.

The video shows him leaving the store, with the girl following behind. Once outside, he took her by the hand.

Edwin's mother then appeared, following after him and the girl.

It turned out the girl's lost mother was in the store. She told investigators that she was returning an item to the shelf when she lost track of her daughter. She naturally became alarmed. Another shopper told her that the girl left the store with a man. Edwin is big enough to pass for a defensive lineman, which probably is part of the problem here.

The video shows the girl's mother rushing out the door.

By that time, Edwin had discovered the girl didn't belong to any of the women he had seen leaving the store. He said he was turning back to return to the store.

There was a convergence of Edwin, his mother, the little girl and her mother. The girl was returned to her mother.

The video then shows mother and daughter going back into the store, followed shortly thereafter by Edwin and his mother.

A store employee then called 911 at the behest of the girl's mother. After the employee tells the dispatcher about the abduction, the dispatcher asks where the perpetrator is.

"He's over in shoes,'' the employee said.

Edwin is quite the kidnapper. He brings his mom along. He hangs out in front of the store until the victim's mother shows up. And then he returns to the store and starts shopping for shoes.

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