The girl said a man with spiked hair and a dragon tattoo approached her on a playground Tuesday and showed her a gun tucked in his waistband, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said. Authorities dispatched eight police cars, a helicopter and a dozen armed officers to find the suspect and even interviewed a man with spiked hair during a four-hour hunt, he said.
But the child's story changed repeatedly during the day and she finally admitted to inventing the attempted kidnapping to get back at her mother, Amormino said. The mother had briefly left her daughter unsupervised in a gated playground in mobile home park where the family lives and the child was scared, he said.
Amormino said authorities were stunned that a child so young could provide such vivid details about something that didn't happen.
"In 28 years in law enforcement, I have never had a 4-year-old make up a story like this," he said Wednesday. "It says something about what television is doing to our children."
Investigators cannot charge the child, but may suggest that her parents get her counseling, Amormino said.