Yay! Charges Dropped vs. Helpful Kid Arrested for “Abducting” 3 y.o.

Hey Readers — As we head into a weekend celebrating life and liberty (at least on this side of the pond), let’s celebrate the liberty that has come to Edwin McFarlane, the young man charged with abducting the lost 3-year-old he was trying to help. The State Attorney’s Office announced it won’t prosecute.

Here’s our original post on the topic. And here’s the happy ending – complete with mentor overload for the young man, who now has a whole bunch of adults hoping to help steer him to a successful life. We hope the same thing for him! Happy weekend to all! — Lenore

36 Responses

  1. Great news, but see if he ever helps anyone out like that again.

  2. Funny, I thnk he should be mentoring us!

  3. Happy he is not going to prison but why is he being treated like a criminal on parole? He didn’t do anything wrong!

  4. Off topic:
    I think you would love this blog, if you don’t already know if it:

    http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?paged=2

    He is very free range and free-thinking.

    On topic:
    I’m glad the charges were dropped, and I hope the extra attention turns a bad situation into a good one!

  5. That is good news

    Last week I tried to help a girl about the age of four crying at the neighborhood water park, she was just standing there crying . Her body paralyzed, mouth open, and her eyes looking back and forth. I went up to her asking, if she was OK and looking for her mom. A lady with her back to the girl was attending to another child, turned around and laugh informing me that it was her own daughter and those were simply ‘crocodile tears.’

  6. Could the comments on the follow-up story be any more bizarre? Wow.

  7. good.

    now expunge his record!

  8. Great news; this story had upset me so much. I can hardly think of a worse travesty of justice.

    To Renee, I was on the other side of a similar situation last week (though my kid was simply pouting and walking slowly). Some kids do cry “crocodile tears.” The “experts” tell you to ignore tantrums. But when your child’s tantrums are quiet and pathetic-looking, folks assume you’re being neglectful instead of just trying not to make a bad situation worse (by rewarding the behavior with attention). My suggestion is to trust that the parents know their child and give them the benefit of the doubt that they are doing what they feel is best. It’s one thing to help reunite a child with her mother – thank you; you couldn’t have known whether she was OK or not. But once she is with her mom, give her mom the respect she deserves. If I have to deal with many more scenes like last week (where the woman came back at me no fewer than 4 times to criticize my parenting, blatantly implying neglect and abuse), I may not want to take my kids to the park where judgmental people will see them cry or pout. (And as far as I know, all toddlers/preschoolers cry or pout from time to time.) And if you don’t believe in parents letting their tots cry, then you can’t complain about how rotten spoiled kids are.

  9. Mentoring him to be what? He’s already the kind of 15 year old that would help a 3 year old to find her mom. Sounds like his mom has already done a good job. Had he been a scrawny white kid would the store have reacted the same way? I agree with a previous commentor that this should be expunged from his record. The store will be lucky if mom doesn’t file a suit against them for wrongfully accusing her son!

  10. Well, he probably needs mentoring NOW that he’s been taught that helping a lost child might put you through several weeks of torment and fear for your liberty. So maybe that’s a good idea.

  11. It’s really sad that they are still treating him like he did something wrong. It’s like they want him to change his good behaviour to bad….

    btw I just saw the new Karate Kid movie and the kid is very free range in the movie. As I watched it I wondered how many parents watching would be so shocked at his freedom and how the teacher could be a paedophile!!!!

  12. My offhand impression is that most of the mentoring is really about his academics more than anything else; the bit about “maintain a 2.5 GPA” suggests that as of now, his schoolwork isn’t good enough for him to get an athletic scholarship down the road. Since he seems to be a promising athlete, that’s a legitimate concern; it’s more about helping him pursue his dreams than trying to turn him away from the dark side.

  13. The picture of Edwin and his mom explains the whole story. He’s a tall, heavy black teenager, so of course the mall people assumed the worse of him. I see racism.

  14. @SKL,

    Don’t worry. I laughed also, when I realize the mother was right there.

  15. เว็บไซต์ที่สร้างโดย Siamopencart ขายสินค้า
    1. เครื่องปั้มนม
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    3. ของใช้สำหรับเด็ก

  16. Sorry, Renee. I guess I read too much into it because I’m still rattled by my experience, LOL.

  17. Holy cow! He’s 14 years old and he is 6 foot 2?

  18. @SKL

    No problem. I reread my comment, I realize I didn’t mention a positive to the mother’s laughter.

  19. In my own city, the daily newspaper is changing their guidelines radically for comments. They all have to be signed with first and last names, and the town in which you live. There’s been a huge outcry, but reading the comments on the Orlando Sentinel, I can understand why. I don’t get why the comments sections of daily newspapers have totally degenerated into flame wars and trolling, but I can understand why papers are deciding their limited resources are better used in a different way.

  20. I know someone was going to come out with the RACISM card on this story. Come on, it has NOTHING to do with it.. I’m just glad it had a happy ending.

  21. Yeah I’m not really understanding why he needs a mentor. Better grades I suppose- as long as it’s voluntary I’m not going to moan, but it does seem a little funny.

  22. Not sure how else to get this to you — A couple whose children (ages 5 & 8) ride their bikes to school have been reported to Social Services in the UK. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1291970/Couple-threatened-social-services-children-ride-bikes-school.html

  23. As far as the mentoring goes, maybe it’s just that the whole situation has brought attention to a kid with good potential who doesn’t seem to be achieving it, so they’re trying to put him on that path. That’s a good thing, but I just wish it would come with an abject, unminced apology from the cops and anyone else involved in initially pressing charges, without any of the self-justifying “based on what we knew at the time” crap. Based on what we knew at the time, a kid walked around the public areas of a store holding a little girl by the hand. That is NOT sufficient grounds for ANY kind of suspicion — or it shouldn’t be. Otherwise, it still looks like a situation where a kid was wrongly brought “into the system” and treated like he belongs there, when there was never any indication that he should be..

  24. I mean, why isn’t it the police’s job to say, “I’m sorry you’re hysterical, ma’am, but we’ve simply no evidence that Edwin harmed your child in any way, so we’ve allowed him to go”? Don’t they even need a SHRED of evidence *that there was a crime* before they arrest someone? If you called the cops because a disreputable looking guy walked into your home but then couldn’t tell them that a single thing had been stolen or any harm done to anyone, would they still arrest the guy?

  25. Actually, the mother was not upset and refused to press charges. However, I have to say that I think Virginia has a point. I thought the same thing when I saw the picture. I have serious doubts that this incident would have gone so far if the 15 year old boy had been a white kid who hadn’t hit his growth spurt. Part of what happened probably does have to do with the fact that this kid is not only black, but looks like a grown man. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with acknowledging it.

    @ Pentamom – Wouldn’t that be trespassing? Yeah, you can get arrested for that.

  26. Kate,
    The quote from the woman from social services shows a lot of promise for the situation. She seemed to be trying hard to tell the school to get a grip without coming right out and saying it. I think these parents need to take their £12,000 x 2 and go elsewhere.

  27. Well, okay. You could get arrested for trespassing. In that case, the equivalent would be arresting the person not JUST for trespassing, but for stealing and assault, because, gosh golly, under those circumstances, he probably DID steal something and physically threaten the occupants.

  28. I can think of an even better comparison: it would be like finding a wallet on the ground, picking it up and looking through it for identification, then having the person who lost the wallet come back to find you holding it and have you arrested for theft.

  29. “If you called the cops because a disreputable looking guy walked into your home but then couldn’t tell them that a single thing had been stolen or any harm done to anyone, would they still arrest the guy?”

    Ah, yeah. That is at minimum criminal trespass and likely burglary of an occupied dwelling (a pretty serious felony).

  30. Donna, see my subsequent response after Robin pointing that out. My analogy was flawed, but it’s comparable to arresting someone *for theft or assault* despite there being no evidence that anything was taken or anyone was threatened bodily. I’m assuming that the charges are based entirely on the guy’s looks, not on any threatening or suspicious behavior that he exhibited — because he didn’t exhibit any. Just like Edwin didn’t exhibit any threatening or predatory behavior, but somehow was charged with a crime despite there being no evidence of a crime even occurring.

  31. I know someone was going to come out with the RACISM card on this story. Come on, it has NOTHING to do with it.. I’m just glad it had a happy ending.

    Yeah, because saying racism where none exists always gets you good results. Meanwhile, there’s no racism ever anywhere… except that this particular cop who arrested this kid apparently has a history of troublesome, probably racially-related incidents.

    So, here’s the question. Do you KNOW that race had nothing to do with the events at all?

    No. But you’re willing to guess and assume it didn’t in order to prove some form of rhetorical point.

  32. I’m surprised there’s no contact link or email on the entire site. How weird is that?

    Any how — here’s a link I think you’ll enjoy (even if it’s not posted in its proper place — it’s the only way I could share ;)

    http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2010/07/breaking-walled-garden-of-childhood.html#links

    Enjoy!

  33. [...] dropped against teen who tried to help lost kid in shopping mall [Lenore Skenazy, [...]

  34. Except for the lack of the cock punches to the cops who arrested the kid even after they knew this kid did nothing wrong, a satisfactory ending to the story nonetheless.

  35. Kate, that story comes as no surprise to me and it happens on this side of the ocean as well. I was reported for that exact thing last year ( riding home from school, not to school). My son was almost 8, the distance is less than half a mile and the route is a nearly straight line on quiet roads with one slightly busy one to cross near the school. But, you know, “anything” could happen.

  36. As one who defended Edwin McFarlane and decried the police actions, I feel obliged, though saddened, to report that he has been arrested again, this time for sexually assaulting a fellow student on the school bus. That doesn’t mean he was guilty in the previous incident, but that — and the recent rape of a toddler at a local theme park — make me willing to give the police a bit more benefit of the doubt. Sometimes they know more than they can say.

    It’s a complicated world out there.

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