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Mom recants story about pulling gun to stop abduction at West Virginia mall

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A close-up of a woman's hand holding a handgun. Photographed on location at a shooting range.

BARBOURSVILLE, W. Va. – A West Virginia woman recanted her story Tuesday about a man attempting to abduct her 5-year-old daughter, causing her to draw a firearm and protect the child, according to police.

The woman originally reported the incident Monday at the Huntington Mall, where police said she told them a man of Middle Eastern descent tried to abduct her daughter from a department store.

She called 911 and alerted mall security to the incident, leading to an arrest.

But Tuesday, the woman’s story changed.

According to a Facebook post from the Barboursville Police Department,  officers returned to the mall to view security footage. In it, they found inconsistencies with the woman’s original report. No other witnesses to the crime could be found.

When police called the woman back to the station for a detailed statement, her story became even less consistent with the evidence, investigators said.

Eventually, police said the woman admitted “she might have misjudged the suspect’s actions, overreacted to the uninvited touching of her daughter and misinterpreted the intentions of the male suspect.”

Further, the woman told police there may have been a “cultural misunderstanding,” saying the man may have simply been patting her daughter on the head and smiling.

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