The mother of the girl said the incident was terrifying for her daughter. “It took a long time to calm her down,” she said. While they have always had rules about how far her daughter is allowed to venture, on this occasion she’d given her a bit more leeway because she wanted to visit a friend.
The man was outside 440 Cameo Drive when he approached the girl. Residents said he does not live at that residence, and its driveway was empty. “He yelled at her ‘Hey, come over here,’ and then said he had candy and $20 for her,” the mother said.
Her daughter, who was walking the family’s small dog, began running as fast as she could toward home, screaming for her mother. She lost the man when she began screaming and running. “She was hysterical” her mother said. “She was very, very scared. It took me all night to calm her down.”
The Lakeland Police Department report listed the time of the call at 5:50 p.m.
“When we called the police, and an officer came out and talked to my daughter, and she gave him a description of the man, the officer said she had done everything right.” To be safe, she asked that her name and address not be published.
She said the officer told the girl it was the second call the Lakeland Police Department had received recently about a suspicious character in the area. Imperial Southgate Villas are located behind Kelly Recreation Complex.
The girl described the man as about 5’ 9” to 5’ 10” and of average build. The white male had brown hair and some hair growth on his chin. He was wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. He was probably in his 40s.