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A woman rescued two girls from an abductor after they mouthed 'please help me, this is not my dad.'
According to reports, the two girls – who were both under 12 – were exiting Cherry’s Bar and Grill restaurant in Brandon, Florida, when a 37-year-old man allegedly followed them.
The man, David Matthew Daniels, allegedly told the girls he would 'supervise' them as they walked home.
According to local police, Daniels hit one of the children multiple times in the head and placed one in a headlock.
The girls, who were riding bikes, then rode towards a church nearby to call for help.
The man allegedly continued to follow the children into the church and claimed he was their father, but one woman realised something was wrong.
The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Fox 13: "I saw two children on their bicycles and a male adult behind them.”
She remembered one of the girls mouthing to her: “Please help me, this is not my dad.”
"He was kind of talking over her, right behind her, putting his arm around her neck and saying something in her ear, saying. 'We just moved here, we just want to see how we can help do whatever you're doing,'" the woman recalled.
The mother’s quick-thinking meant she didn’t react to the incident, and pretended to welcome the supposed family into the church, so that she could call the emergency services.
She said: "I engaged in conversation with him. I said, 'Oh that's nice, where did you move here from?' He said, 'Oh, I am not really sure.'"
When officers arrived at the scene, they identified the suspect, who was now a short distance from the church as he left towards the town.
Daniels has since been arrested on two counts of false imprisonment of a child and child abuse and is now held on a $104,000 (£85,000) bond.
The two children told officers they believed they were being abducted by the man.
"I don't want any recognition for this," the woman told the publication. "I don't want to be a hero. I just did what I hope anybody would do for my own kids."
She added: "There are moms out there who are like me. They are going to recognize the signs, and they are going to know what to do.
"In that moment, I didn't know if I was going to have the right answer. But they are fine, and they are home today."
Jessica Lang, who works at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office told WFLA: "He did not know these children and these children definitely did not know him.
"Thankfully these children stuck together and rode their bikes to a nearby church and asked an adult for help," she added.
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