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Mother records tense moment when man grabs child at Hamilton splash pad

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A mother with her children at the Crawford Woods splash pad told the Journal-News she was concerned with the man??€™s behavior and began filming him with her cell phone.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Hamilton police are investigating an incident that occurred at one of the city’s splash pads Monday afternoon when they were called after reports of a man’s erratic behavior.

A mother with her children at the Crawford Woods splash pad told the Journal-News she was concerned with the man’s behavior and began filming him with her cell phone.

“He clearly took off with a little girl … into the woods,” Tekoia Cephas said in the video she posted live on Facebook at about 3:30 p.m.

ExploreMORE: Watch the Hamilton mother’s video from the splash pad here

The man, who is seen in the video kneeling just outside the gate to the splash pad while children play, unsteadily gets up on his feet, gathers some items, yells at some children, and then picks up a little girl and starts to run.

The man is then seen putting that child down, picking up another child and running into the woods.

Police were called, and one officer and several firefighters responded to the park.

Hamilton Police Sgt. Brian Robinson said detectives are investigating the incident, but so far have determined the man left with his own child.

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“So as not to create mass panic on mere speculation, there have been no children reported missing relative to this incident at this time. No one else at the park stated the child was theirs, and again no one else in the city has filed any missing children reports at this time relative to the incident …” Robinson said in an email to this news outlet.

“The male was obviously displaying erratic behavior, which is definitely not appropriate for this setting, whether he had a child there or not,” he said.

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Cephas said Monday was her first time visiting the splash pad with two of her children.

“It was just crazy,” she said, adding she started filming because the man’s behavior concerned her.

“I was afraid for my kids to walk past him. There were kids playing there. We don’t want that energy around my children,” Cephas said.

She said the first child the man picked up started “screaming for her Mama.”

She said she became very concerned when the man picked up another child and ran into the woods.

“I still don’t know what happened to her,” Cephas told the Journal-News.

Robinson said police welcome any information that may shed light on the incident so detectives can assess it fully. Tips may be called into the investigations division at 513-868-5811, ext. 2002.