Did the Mom Whose Son Was Assaulted in Walmart Make It Up?

Online outrage reached a fever pitch in response to a mother who said her two-year-old son was assaulted by a man unhappy that the child was wearing a pink headband. But a police report calls into question the original accusation.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

August 08 2013 7:14 PM ET

The story of a two-year-old child who was assaulted by a strange man in a central Florida Walmart for wearing a pink headband quickly went viral after the boy's mother published her story online at the Huffington Post. The Advocate subsequently picked up the story, which included a terrifying account of how an unidentified man ripped the headband off the child's head, smacked him, and then called the toddler a faggot. 

But now the mother who published that story is being questioned about its veracity, reportedly fielding threats from those who don't believe her, and has been taken into psychiatric custody after making statements that implied she might commit suicide, reports the Orlando Sentinel

The mother, who published her story under the pseudonym Katie Vyktoriah, but has since been revealed to be a woman named Kathleen Carpenter, reportedly told police officers who were investigating the alleged incident in Polk County, Fla., "that the attention obtained by her story and the negative comments and communications to her had become too much stress and she could not handle the situation… anymore," and was thinking of killing herself, according to the Sentinel. Under Florida law, police officers are required to take into custody anyone who they have reason to believe is a danger to themselves or others, as prescribed by the Baker Act. 

Carpenter's original blog post, published on Huff Post and her personal (but now offline) blog "A Mother Thing," claimed she did not report the alleged harassment to store officials. As such, some confusion exists over what county the alleged incident took place in, meaning that deputies from both Polk and Lake counties interviewed the family. Police officials confirmed that Carpenter had received more than 11,000 emails in response to her blog post. 

Police said video of alleged assault was not immediately available, but indicated that it might exist somewhere. In a statement to members of the media Monday night, a Lake County deputy called into question whether or not the assault even occurred. "Based on the continuing media response through Facebook, and generated response to the incident by online subscribers, possible video of the incident may be obtained and viewed to in fact verify that the incident actually did occur or if it was all made up," the Sentinel quotes the Lake County officer's report stating.

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