The Wizarding World of Harry Potter near Orlando has proven to be very popular with both children and their parents. One of the most popular parts of the park is the simulated train station where people can watch the fabled Hogwarts Express depart for the wizard training academy. Unfortunately, reports have emerged that an alleged kidnapper attempted to use the exhibit’s popularity to kidnap a young girl on New Year’s Eve.
According to police reports, a 9-year-old girl was standing by herself in the locker area of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey when a man whom she did not know touched her shoulders. The man allegedly told the girl to walk outside where her mother was waiting. The girl was immediately frightened and pulled away from the man. According to witnesses, she then ran to her mother. A witness told police that she saw the defendant put his hands on the girl’s shoulders and tell her, “Mommy is over here.” According to the witness, the girl looked very frightened. At that point, the girl broke free and ran to her mother’s side.
The girl’s mother told park police about the incident, and they began to look for the man. After the girl ran to her mother, the man allegedly attempted to flee on foot. Police found him at Hogwarts Express, where he was arrested. Police reportedly found two grams of marijuana on the suspect. He was then taken to the Orange County Jail and charged with kidnapping a child, battery and possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis. The defendant’s attorney told the court that police failed to present evidence sufficient to support the charge of kidnapping, but the judge ordered the man to be held without bail until further notice.
The defendant in this case faces serious criminal penalties, but the evidence presented so far may be questionable. Anyone in a similar situation may benefit from getting more information about potential criminal defense options.