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MailTribune.com
  • Van man's attempts to contact girls won't draw charges

    Leon Douglas Remstedt Jr is held on various drug, weapon and vehicle charges; but none connected to contact with minors
  • Citing a lack of evidence, the Jackson County District Attorney's office will not file further charges against a man police suspect tried three times to initiate inappropriate contact with young girls.
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  • Citing a lack of evidence, the Jackson County District Attorney's office will not file further charges against a man police suspect tried three times to initiate inappropriate contact with young girls.
    Leon Douglas Remstedt Jr., 41, raised concerns for parents and police when he allegedly tried to contact the young school girls in White City and Phoenix while driving in his 1986 Toyota van.
    Remstedt's van has been thoroughly searched by Jackson County sheriff's investigators and no evidence was found that could prove Remstedt had any ill intentions toward the girls. Nor is there any evidence Remstedt engaged the girls in inappropriate conversation, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert.
    "There was nothing located in the van that would apply to those girls," Heckert said. "And the ones he approached didn't really have a conversation with him. They didn't really say anything."
    The first incident occurred on May 1, when Remstedt allegedly pulled up alongside a middle school girl in White City and tried to talk to her. A similar incident also took place took place in Phoenix on May 18 when a man driving a light brown Toyota van drove up to a school bus stop in Phoenix.
    The third and final incident occurred 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, said Andrea Carlson, spokesperson for the sheriff's office. The girl did not respond and ran away, Carlson said.
    Police scoured the Rogue Valley looking for Remstedt and his van. When they finally located him in a Medford shopping area, Remstedt, who is wanted on warrants in Klamath Falls for possession of methamphetamine and a parole violation, fled in his van through a parking lot. Tips led police to a home in south Medford where Remstedt was captured after he tried to jump out of a window.
    Remstedt was arraigned last week in Jackson County Circuit Court on a felony count of attempting to elude police in a vehicle and the following misdemeanors: three counts of recklessly endangering another, being a felon in possession of a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon, possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine and driving while suspended.
    Prosecutors said at the time further charges could be forthcoming pending further investigation and the completed search of Remstedt's van, which was later found at an address in Central Point. The van had been covered by a tarp, presumably to keep it out of sight of law enforcement, said Carlson.
    Remstedt's bail was set at $2 million. He has been assigned a court-appointed attorney, and was formally arraigned Thursday afternoon before Judge Lorenzo Mejia. Remstedt pleaded not guilty to all charges.
    A preliminary hearing is slated for June 18 when a trial date will be set, Heckert said.
    Given sentencing guidelines, it's unlikely Remstedt would serve much jail time should he be convicted on all the charges.
    "He only has one felony charge that has a typical 10-day penalty," Heckert said, adding she does not know what the outcome would be for Remstedt should he be remanded back to Klamath Falls.
    "That will depend on their resources," Heckert said.
    But Heckert stressed that the deputies and the girls responded appropriately given the information they had at the time, she said.
    "Obviously the police took the situation very seriously," Heckert said. "And I'm glad the kids are as conscious as they should be when a stranger approaches."
    Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.
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