A grandfather’s fun day at the park with his toddler granddaughter over the weekend has left a South Dakota town in shock.
As the man was putting his granddaughter into a baby swing, he saw that someone had fastened four fishing hooks with fishing line to the swing —two on the right side, two on the left. He saw them just before he sat his granddaughter in it.
Police in Platte, S.D., found that no other playground equipment had been tampered with in the town’s South Park, according to KSFY in Sioux Falls.
But the close call was so heinous the Facebook post by the police department has elicited more than 31,000 reactions since Saturday, the day of the incident.
In less than 24 hours, the post was shared more than 8,300 times and received nearly 1,000 comments from people who were shocked, concerned and frustrated.
Police said the toddler nearly placed in peril was 2 to 3 years old.
“Thankfully, grandpa noticed this before seating granddaughter into the swing, as we can only imagine the extent of what her injuries would have been,” the police department’s original post on Saturday afternoon noted. “Please be vigilant for your own children/grandchildren when attending public playgrounds.”
The police asked for the public’s help to find the culprit, and they found him — a “very young” juvenile, the police described.
According to the Mitchell Daily Republic, a tip from someone who was there when the fishing hooks were placed on the swing led police to the youth, who has not been identified by police.
“For what it’s worth, when we received the initial tip, we thought there may be ill intentions, too,” Platte Police Chief Brandon Semmler told the Republic. “Until we got to the bottom of it, it was blatantly clear there wasn’t.”
Saturday evening, the police department updated the situation on Facebook.
“The incident involving the fish hooks in the swing at South Park in Platte has been resolved. There is no threat of further danger to anyone or anything,” the department wrote.
“The party responsible was a very young juvenile and the situation was a lapse in judgment rather than a despicable prank. Thank you for all of the tips in helping to get to the bottom of this.”
Though the police have closed the case, more than 550 comments ranging from anger to disbelief have flooded the police department’s Facebook page.
“A lapse in judgment?????? This kids got all the supplies together and strategically tied them together knowing what damage it was going to cause to a toddler or baby!!!! But let the criminal go??????????” wrote one commenter.
“Lapse in a BRAIN and HEART!!! Can you say SICK!!!” wrote another.
“So what if he’s a young juvenile he needs to learn actions have consequences,” wrote yet another.
Semmler told the Daily Republic that the department was “kind of taken aback to see just how much attention it has gotten.
“Quite frankly, it’s a good thing. Not that anybody would be in favor of malicious intent, but with as much criticism as that received, it was nice to see people are genuinely concerned about the welfare of others.”