Churchgoer saves two young girls from abduction after one mouths secret message

‘Members of this church really stepped up to protect children that were not theirs’

<p>David Daniels was arrested on two counts of false imprisonment of a child and child abuse. </p>

David Daniels was arrested on two counts of false imprisonment of a child and child abuse.

Two Florida girls under the age of 12 were saved from a violent abduction after one mouthed “help me” at a churchgoer, authorities say.

David Daniels, 37, started following the elementary school age kids as they walked home from Cherry’s Bar and Grill in Fishhawk, Tampa, at about 6pm on Sunday, Jessica Lang from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office told WLFA8.

Mr Daniels allegedly hit the girls over the head and placed one in a headlock, but they were able to break free and ride their bikes to a nearby church.

A woman who asked not to be identified told FOX 13 she had just walked out of the church when she saw the girls who appeared to be in distress.

“One of the little girls was mouthing to me, ‘Please help me, this is not my dad,’” the woman told Fox 13.

She said the suspect claimed he was the girls’ father, and was talking over them and placed his arm around one of their necks.

The woman said she tried to engage Mr Daniels in conversation and welcomed them into the church while she could call 911.

She was able to usher the girls into the church and contact authorities.

Hillsborough County deputies arrested Mr Daniels a short time later and have charged him with two counts of false imprisonment of a child and child abuse.

The sheriff’s office praised the actions of the congregants.

“Members of this church really stepped up to protect children that were not theirs,” Ms Lang told WFLA8.

“They saw that something was wrong and they saved these children.”

The woman whose stepped in to help the girls said she didn’t want recognition.

“I don’t want to be a hero. I just did what I hope anybody would do for my own kids.”

Mr Daniels is in custody at the Hillsborough County Jail and his bail has been set at $104,000.

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