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MailTribune.com
  • Authorities search for van driver who stops young girls

  • WHITE CITY — The third incident in three weeks involving a man driving a light-colored van attempting to talk to middle school girls was reported Wednesday morning, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department said.
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  • WHITE CITY — The third incident in three weeks involving a man driving a light-colored van attempting to talk to middle school girls was reported Wednesday morning, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department said.
    Phoenix police also have identified two men they believe know more about one of the three cases.
    Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said the most recent incident happened at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Hale Way and Falcon Street in White City. A girl was walking to White Mountain Middle School when a white man in his 40s driving an older, beige van pulled up next to her. The driver attempted to ask the girl several questions, including her name and where she lived, Carlson said. The girl did not respond and ran away.
    The driver sped away, traveling north on 24th Avenue toward Avenue G in White City. Officers were unable to find the van.
    Police are investigating whether the driver is the same man involved in a May 1 incident — the first of the three — near Highway 62 and Avenue H in White City. A motorist said a beige or white van pulled up alongside a middle school girl and tried to talk to her. The motorist turned around to go back, a news release said, but by then both the girl and the van were gone. The motorist described the man in the van as a white man in his 40s with a large build and scruffy salt-and-pepper hair.
    A similar incident also took place took place in Phoenix on Friday, May 18, and police said it could be related, but that is not yet confirmed.
    During that incident, a man driving a light brown 1986 Toyota van drove up to a school bus stop near the intersection of South Pacific Highway and North Rose Street. A Phoenix police officer drove up as the driver of the van attempted to talk to the girl, prompting the van to speed away. The officer followed and stopped the van for a traffic violation. When he asked the man to step out of the vehicle, the driver pulled back onto the road and sped away. Police gave chase but stopped after the man drove recklessly through the WinCo parking lot and pulled back onto Riverside Avenue.
    Police have identified two people of interest in the Phoenix incident who are wanted for questioning. They are looking for Richard William Myers, 29, and Leon Douglas Remstedt Jr., 41. Police are not yet considering them suspects but believe they have additional information about the Phoenix case.
    Court records show Remstedt has been convicted of running from and providing false information to police, felony possession of a firearm, heroin and methamphetamine possession and stealing a car. Myers has been convicted of methamphetamine possession and driving under the influence of intoxicants.
    The van has not yet been found. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of either man should call Phoenix police at 541-535-1113.
    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email rpfeil@mailtribune.com.
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