UPDATE: Woman accused of false abduction report to appear in court

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BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 6/17/19 10:00 AM
A West Virginia woman is due in court on a charge of falsely reporting to police that an Egyptian man tried to kidnap her daughter from a shopping mall.

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports 24-year-old Santana Renee Adams is expected to appear Monday on the misdemeanor charge, punishable by a $500 fine and up to a six-month jail sentence.

Adams was hailed as a hero after claiming she used a gun to thwart a kidnapping on April 1. But her story unraveled when no witnesses could be found and mall surveillance video didn't support the tale.

Abduction charges were later dropped against the accused man, a 54-year-old engineer who was in the area for work.

UPDATE 4/5/19 5:50PM

A mom is facing criminal charges after police say she falsely accused an Egyptian man of trying to abduct her child from the Huntington Mall.

Santana Adams, 24, of Milton, appeared before a Cabell County magistrate judge Friday afternoon. She is charged with falsely reporting an emergency incident.

Her bond was set at $20,000, but she will only need to pay 10 percent of it to get out of jail -- a common bond condition. The charge is a misdemeanor. Adams faces up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.

The suspect said nothing to reporters at the courthouse. She was later taken to the Western Regional Jail.

Adams originally told police an Egyptian man tried to kidnap her 5-year-old at the Huntington Mall. She later changed her story, calling it a "cultural misunderstanding."

The mother reported the incident Monday night. She told police she was shopping in Old Navy and that a man grabbed her child by the hair and tried to take her, adding that she pulled a gun on him to stop him.

A suspect was arrested. Mohamed Zayan denied the accusations and even said he couldn't tell you what the mom and child look like. He also said a gun was never pulled on him, as the mother said.

Police say Zayan may have simply been patting the girl on the head and smiling. All charges against Zayan were dropped Thursday.

Video surveillance near the Old Navy entrance shows Zayan and Adams calmly walking out of the store nearly 35 seconds apart and going in opposite directions

Investigators confirmed that Adams had a gun in her front pocket. According to the criminal complaint, Adams said it was a 9 mm Smith and Wesson.

Investigators say they're not sure about a motive for Adams making her original statement and then changing it.

UPDATE 4/5/19 12:05PM

A detective in West Virginia says criminal charges will be brought against a woman for falsely reporting that an Egyptian man tried to kidnap her daughter from a shopping mall, the Associated Press reports.

Barboursville Police Detective Greg Lucas tells The Associated Press on Friday that they're going to charge Santana Renee Adams with falsely reporting an emergency incident.

The charge would be the latest turn in a sensational tale of a mother who used a gun to thwart an abduction but quickly unraveled amid inconsistencies in her story.

Authorities on Thursday announced they were dropping charges against the man, Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan. Police say he may have simply been patting the girl on the head.

Adams couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

UPDATE 4/4/19 2:20PM

The charges against a man, who was accused of trying to kidnap a child at the Huntington Mall, have been dropped.

The prosecutor's office announced on Thursday they had reviewed the case and all of the evidence and have decided to drop the charges against Mohamed Zayan.

Zayan, who is from Egypt, was first accused by a mother on Monday of trying to kidnap her child while they were shopping in a store at the mall.

The mother told police he grabbed her 5-year-old daughter by the hair and tried to drag her away, but she pulled out a gun to stop him.

Zayan was arrested and charged Monday night. However, Barboursville Police said in a news conference Tuesday that after reviewing surveillance video and talking with the mother again, there were inconsistencies with her story. She later changed her story about what happened, saying it may have been a "cultural misunderstanding," and that Zayan may have just been patting her daughter on the head.

That prompted the prosecutor's office to reduce Zayan's bond, and he was later released from jail.

The prosecutor's office reviewed the case and the evidence before making a decision on the charges against Zayan.

However, Zayan's attorney said there was never any evidence to back up the charges against him, saying "Our office has thoroughly and diligently investigated this case and there is absolutely no evidence to support any charges or wrongdoing against Mr. Zayan. We have consulted with local law enforcement officials and we are convinced there is no evidence to support these charges at all."

Cabell County's Prosecuting Attorney Sean "Corky" Hammers released a statement to WSAZ Thursday after the charges against him were dismissed, saying "After a complete review of all of the evidence collected in this case and after lengthy conversations with detectives and the Chief of Police of the Barboursville Police Department, I do not believe any provable criminal offense exists against Mr. Zayan. The charge of Attempted Abduction will be dismissed today and no other charges will be filed against him regarding the incident."

The prosecutor says he is in touch with Barboursville Police about any charges that may be filed against the mother.

UPDATE 4/2/19 8:20PM

A man from Egypt initially accused of attempting to kidnap a child from the Huntington Mall was released from jail Tuesday night after the child's mother changed her story, our crew at the scene reports.

Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, who's an engineer, was emotional as he was released to his family waiting outside the Western Regional Jail -- openly crying with them.

The Egyptian consulate has been in touch with authorities in West Virginia about the overall incident.

A woman told Barboursville Police that Zayan tried to kidnap her 5-year-old daughter at the Huntington Mall on Monday. She also told police she pulled out a gun to scare the suspect away. The incident happened when the woman was shopping with her daughter in the Old Navy store a little after 6 p.m. Monday.

Police said Tuesday that the whole incident stemmed over a "cultural misunderstanding" when Zayan allegedly patted the girl on the head. The mother originally told police that a man tried to drag her daughter away by the hair.

UPDATE 4/2/19 5:02PM
Most charges against a man from Egypt are expected to be dropped after the woman recanted her story that the man tried to abduct her child at the Huntington Mall.

The woman tells police that the whole situation could have been a "cultural misunderstanding" and that the man may have just been patting her daughter on the head.

The woman reported the incident Monday evening at the mall and said she pulled out a gun to scare away the reported suspect.

Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, 54, of Alexandria, Egypt, was arraigned at the Cabell County Courthouse late Monday night. As mentioned, most charges against Zayan are expected to be dropped.

Investigators say it's possible that Zayan still faces a battery charge. They say it's not clear if the woman will face any charges.

The woman told investigators she a mother was shopping with her daughter in the Old Navy store a little after 6 p.m. when she said a man approached them and tried to pull her daughter away by the hair.

ORIGINAL STORY 4/2/19 4:49PM
A mother is facing charges Tuesday, and all charges against a man from Egypt are expected to be dropped after the woman said she made the story up that the man tried to abduct her child at the Huntington Mall.

The woman reported the incident Monday evening at the mall and said she pulled out a gun to scare away the reported suspect. She recanted that story on Tuesday.

Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, 54, of Alexandria, Egypt, was arraigned at the Cabell County Courthouse late Monday night. As mentioned, all charges against Zayan are expected to be dropped.

The woman told investigators she a mother was shopping with her daughter in the Old Navy store a little after 6 p.m. when she said a man approached them and tried to pull her daughter away by the hair.

We have a crew at the news conference at the Barboursville Police Department. We will have more details, including the woman's name, after the news conference gets underway.