A Florida man, who was working as a construction worker in a gated community, was arrested after being accused of attempting to lure a 10-year-old girl back to his truck for a kiss, according to WESH 2 News.
On Wednesday, June 1, 43-year-old Eder Batista – who was born in Ipatinga in Brazil, but later moved to Orlando – was doing construction work in a gated neighborhood, near Apopka-Vineland and Sand Lake roads in Dr. Phillips, when he spotted a young girl, who was stretching outside near her house.
— Holly Bristow (@hollybnews) June 1, 2016
Documents stated that while the young girl, whose name has not been released due to legal reasons, began walking toward a nearby fountain to continue her stretches, he followed behind her. An affidavit stated that he then approached the child, “but didn’t get too close” and “motioned for her to come to his truck.”
When the girl made no attempt to follow him back to his truck, sources say that he told the child “she was pretty and puckered his lips while saying, ‘kiss’ and ‘come on.’”
The child reportedly ran back to her house and immediately told her parents that she felt uncomfortable when the construction worker allegedly approached her and attempted to lure her back to his truck for a kiss.
Orange County police officials were immediately called to the scene, where the suspect was taken into custody on charges of “luring and enticing a child under 12 years old, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.”
When neighbors learned that a construction worker allegedly tried to lure an underage girl back to his truck for a kiss, they were in complete and utter shock. One neighbor, Ranjit Wasu, told reporters that “it’s a sad world we live in, I think.” He went on to say that he “live[s] two minutes away, and how this is happening, I have no idea.”
“Shocking. I’m a father, as well, and we have three children. You need to be more alert and aware of your surroundings.”
According to Orlando Sentinel, Eder Batista was taken to the Orange County jail and was released after paying a $500 bond. However, the Brazilian man claims that his intent was not to lure the girl to his truck for a kiss. He was only saying “hi” to the child, who he said had walked by him while he was working.
On his Facebook page, he posted, “I want to make a clarification here to friends and family and for those who know me. The law in the USA prohibits an unknown adult speaking to a child alone.
“A 10 year-old-girl who lives next to the house that I was renovating, ran pass my truck, I greeted her, she smiled and greeted me from afar, and after a while I was on the side of the house working, the police summoned me. They said the child said I called her into my car so that I could kiss her.”
“I was arrested for investigation of my background as it was not proven that I committed the act of pedophilia,” Batista’s Facebook continued. “I paid the minimum bail of $ 500 and left free, but still have to appear before a court, pray for me and ask God to rid me, I did no such thing.”
Batista’s co-worker Michel Abrão also wrote a Facebook post, claiming that “All who live in this community, when they pass you, are waving good-bye, saying ‘Hi here, Hi there.’” He added that it seems as though when someone says “hi” to another person in this country, “you are wanting something” and that’s not the case.
However, Abrão add that he gave a “big hug” to his friend, and he has “faith that everything will be clarified.”
Orange County police officials stated that after Eder Batista was accused of trying to lure a child to his truck for a kiss, they are now “interviewing people in the community.”
[Image via Getty Images/ China Photos]