MARION, Ohio — An Ohio woman was arrested after officials say she posted a video on Facebook falsely claiming that one of her children was almost abducted at an area Walmart.
Chelsie “Harris” Hendel, 27, of Marion was taken into custody at her home Friday afternoon on suspicion of inducing panic after going live on Facebook for a minute and a half the day before.
In the video, since removed from Facebook, the mother of two stated that an unknown assailant grabbed the arm of her daughter while in the parking lot of a Walmart in Marion.
She described the man as having dark hair, wearing dark blue jeans, a dark blue shirt and tennis shoes.
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“That man walked up and he grabbed (my daughter) and I looked at him and I said what the F are you doing that is my kid,” Hendel said in the video.
“I wanted to let everyone know about this because they couldn’t get a good look of him on the cameras and there is nothing really that we could do about it but she is fine and everything is fine,” she added.
On the post, which garnered hundreds of reactions, Hendel said she reported the incident to store employees as well as law enforcement. She said she was told nothing could be done because the man’s face was not visible after reviewing store security footage.
However, deputies with the Marion Sheriff’s Office said Hendel never notified Walmart about the incident nor did she contact law enforcement.
Sheriff Tim Bailey told the Star that security footage provided by the store showed Hendel and her children arriving at the store without incident before shopping for about 45 minutes. He said the footage showed the incident never happened.
“When you make an allegation that my staff has not done something I take it seriously,” Bailey said.
After reviewing the tapes, deputies arrived at Hendel’s residence to interview her about the incident.
“We wanted to get her side of the story,” Bailey said. ” She admitted to making the story up.”
Hendel faces a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic, according to deputies.
“The constitution protects free speech but there are certain limitations. For instance you can’t walk into a crowded movie theater and shout ‘fire,’ ” Bailey said.
Follow Hasan Abdul-Karim: @Hasan_Marion