May 07, 2016 06:25 PM
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office charged Mark Scott Meihofer of St. Paul with kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the abduction and sexual assault of a seven-year-old girl in St. Paul.
But court documents reveal Meihofer has a history of a similar crime.
In 2011, the 47-year-old was charged with soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct and hiring a prostitute between the ages of 13 and 15.
According to court records, those were dismissed the next year because the court found him incompetent to stand trial due to a mental illness. He was then committed to a mental health facility.
Now, four years after he was released, he's charged in this case.
Police department spokesman Steve Linders said on Thursday that the girl was reported missing about 6:45 p.m. from 305 Dayton Ave. The victim's father was in the area checking out a property he owns, Linders said. The father told police the girl was out of his sight for a minute and she was gone.
The girl was found at 8:33 p.m. at 286 Marshall Ave., one block from where she was last seen. It happened in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood. Meihofer was arrested and is in Ramsey County Jail.
When the 911 call was received, police canvassed the area and stopped cars looking for the girl. They found an apartment with a video camera, and the manager said the suspect might be inside. Officers knocked on a door and got no answer. They began to remove the door when the suspect appeared at the door. Officers found the girl inside, and she was taken to a hospital, Linders said.
Documents say the "the girl was completely naked from the waist up and her hands were bound with duct tape."
"It's incredibly scary to think something like this can happen," Linders said.
Inside the apartment, documents say "Meihofer made the girl smoke," "Meihofer took photos of the girl while she was naked," and if she didn't comply with sexual acts, "he threatened to hit her on top of the head with a stick."
"It's just unbelievable, like a worst nightmare," said Stephen Berens, who lives in St. Paul.
Berens lives in the same apartment complex as the suspect.
"He seemed very peculiar. Strange, strange person," Berens said.
Court records show Meihofer told police, "I was going to bring her home at nine" and that "God told him to do it."
Linders said the situation shows the importance of residents helping out and providing information.
"This is also an example of excellent police work," Linders said.
Meihofer was booked on kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The girl was transported to the hospital and reunited with family.
With his prior felony arrest, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS checked to see if Meihofer was a registered sex offender. After looking at the database, he's not on it.
The assault comes after a 5-year-old girl was assaulted Monday while she waiting for a school bus at the corner of Park Street and Cook Avenue West in St. Paul. The incident was reported about 8:10 a.m
Police are working to determine if the two cases are related, Linders said.
Updated: May 07, 2016 06:25 PM
Created: May 06, 2016 09:36 PM
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