Suspicious person reported at park, but no kidnapping attempt

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OTTUMWA — Several viral Facebook posts with hundreds of shares claiming that two people attempted to kidnap three children at Memorial Park has been debunked by authorities.

Various social media posts made Monday said that a man and a woman had attempted to kidnap the children from Memorial Park, causing injuries to them in the process. The posts went on to say law enforcement was contacted and that both perpetrators had been apprehended.

However, police say the posts aren’t accurate.

Ottumwa Police Lt. Jason Bell told the Courier that officers did respond to a suspicious person report at Memorial Park on Monday after a caller complained about a woman who was taking pictures of other kids. However, that woman was not located and no arrests were made.

The remainder of the details contained in the posts were not shared with law enforcement that arrived on scene, Bell said.

“There was no information presented to the responding officer to suggest there was any threat to any children,” Bell said. “So I am not certain where all of the details in that Facebook post originated from but the information is not accurate.”

The post drew multiple comments, including one that claimed to contain a Mobile Patrol mugshot of a man that a Facebook user said was involved in the alleged incident. The man had been arrested and charged with harassment, but the charges involved an incident that occurred at Ottumwa Regional Health Center and not at the park, according to court documents.

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