OLD ORCHARD BEACH – A Saco man was released from the York County Jail on Monday night after authorities determined that he didn’t try to abduct a 3-year-old boy last month and that the child’s parents may have filed a false report.

Eric Auger, 37, of 24 Norman St., was freed after the York County District Attorney’s Office, in consultation with Old Orchard Beach police, dropped a charge of criminal restraint that had been filed against him.

The charge was dismissed unconditionally, according to an official at the jail, where Auger had been held on $500 bail since his arrest on June 22. Auger couldn’t be reached for comment after his release at 8 p.m. Monday.

Investigators are now considering charging the parents with filing a false public report, Deputy Police Chief Keith Babin said in a written statement late Monday afternoon.

Neither Babin nor District Attorney Mark Lawrence could be reached for comment Monday night.

Police haven’t named the parents. At the time of Auger’s arrest, the parents were staying at the Pine Grove Cabins & Vacancy Pub at 17 Ocean Park Road.

After Auger’s arrest, police did follow-up interviews and met with additional witnesses, Babin said in the written statement. Based on new information, investigators determined that Auger was near the cabins at the time the parents said he was, but he never picked up or moved the child.

Police are continuing the investigation to determine whether the parents should be charged, Babin said. When the investigation is complete, the case will be reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office.

Initially, the parents told police that a man had snatched their son as he played in a grassy area near the Pine Grove Cabins.

The parents said they were sitting at a picnic table in front of their cabin when they noticed a man standing near the road, as if he were waiting for a bus, Babin said last month.

The parents said they were suspicious of the man because he kept looking at their son. Then, the man suddenly walked over to their son, grabbed him and ran away, carrying the boy, the parents told police.

The boy’s father ran after the man, caught up to him and pulled the boy away, sending him running back to his mother, the parents told police. The father said he confronted the man and tried to restrain him, but the man ran away. The parents then called police and described the incident and the man.

Soon after, a police officer in a patrol car saw a man, fitting the parents’ description, walking on Ocean Park Road in Saco. The officer stopped the man, interviewed him briefly and arrested him, Babin said last month.

In Monday’s news release, Babin said Auger told police early on that he had been near the cabins and that a man had confronted him, but he didn’t know why.

Still, based on witnesses’ reports provided that day, police arrested Auger and charged him with criminal restraint, a felony that carries a prison sentence of three to five years, Babin said.

Auger had been arrested several times in the past, on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to drunken driving, Babin said.

At the time of Auger’s arrest, Babin said the parents were from Texas but were living here.

A woman who identified herself as the owner of the Pine Grove Cabins said Monday night that the family is no longer staying there.

 

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]