COURTENAY, B.C- A Valley woman is upset, after getting backlash for a social media post meant as a warning.
The incident began when Samantha Hudson was playing softball at the Valley View Elementary School field on Tuesday night, around 8:30 p.m. According to Hudson, she noticed a man walking away from the field with her son, leading him by the hand towards the green space behind a corner of the school.
Hudson said the man had been around the ball games for the last couple of weeks, and later described him in a social media post as 22 to 26 years of age. He had been wearing a baby blue hat, and a red backpack with high-visual strips.
“I’d seen him around, but he’d never done anything to arouse any kind of bad feeling until yesterday,” said Hudson.
Hudson told MyComoxValleyNow.com that she dropped everything she had been holding, and ran over to where the pair were headed, finding her son and two young girls, two and eight years old, who had been in the field with the man.
She grabbed all three, yelled at the man, and then brought the kids back to the bench, seating them there to watch the rest of the game. The man stuck around for about 15 more minutes, then “vanished” according to Hudson.
She then noticed him again while she was leaving the area, and found out from the eight year old girl that the man had been giving the children “presents” and showed them a pocket knife with a four inch blade during the evening.
Her son had been given a lanyard, and a Pokémon token, and she was also told that the man had been talking to the kids “a lot” over the last two weeks.
“I tried to get information out, but she was kind of overwhelmed with everything that had happened last night,” said Hudson.
“We’d been talking all day to find out more, but they’ve been a little overwhelmed with everything.”
After she was told about the knife, she said she contacted the Comox Valley RCMP. According to Hudson, officers searched for the man the same evening, but didn’t locate him. She was told to contact police if she sees him again.
A request for comment has been sent to the detachment on the matter.
Hudson posted about the incident to social media that evening, setting off a buzz of commentary about her story. The buzz turned negative by the morning, and Hudson described the feedback she received as “not good”. Though she didn’t mention who had sent messages by name, she said they were from the local community.
“I’ve gotten hatemail, saying I’m a sh*tty mom and that I should kill myself, and I shouldn’t be bringing my kids to the field,” said Hudson.
“I’ve actually asked to have it (the post) removed. I’m not thrilled, I just did it as a PSA. I don’t know if the guy is actually dangerous, I just thought I should put it out there. I would never forgive myself if something had happened to a kid and I hadn’t said something.”
She said that she’ll be bringing a babysitter to the park tonight, and that other moms in the local softball community are discussing hiring sitters to watch kids during games on a regular basis.
“I don’t know if the guy was dangerous,” said Hudson.
“It just didn’t sit well with me is all.”