Man wanted for child sex crimes found in China

Toby Mendenhall was wanted for sodomy and sex abuse in Washington County

Toby Mendenhall in his first court appearance in Washington County, October 25, 2017 (KOIN)
Toby Mendenhall in his first court appearance in Washington County, October 25, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man wanted for child sex crimes in Washington County was found in China and extradited back to the US to face charges.

Toby Mendenhall was wanted for sodomy and sex abuse stemming from an investigation that began in June 2016 in Washington County, according to detective Mark Polovny. Last December an arrest warrant for the 41-year-old was issued. Court records list the initials of three victims, all girls who detectives said were known to Mendenhall.

But he fled to China before being arrested.

“I don’t know why he went to China and what the motivation there was other than clearly to get out of this area and to avoid prosecution,” Polovny said when asked about the subject.

Since that time, the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force worked with Chinese authorities to find Mendenhall. He was recently located in Shanghai, then returned to the US.

He is now behind bars at the Washington County Jail and is being held on bail of $2.5 million. Detectives said he is facing 10 counts, all of which are separate acts: 2 counts of first degree sodomy and 8 counts of first degree sexual abuse. He plead not guilty on Wednesday afternoon to all charges.

Detectives believe there may be more victims and the investigation is ongoing. Polovny said the Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigation shows Mendenhall has had “concerning behavior” for more than 10 years. Authorities said he’s lived in multiple locations in the Portland metro area, including Vancouver, which makes the investigation, and the exact number of victims, harder to pinpoint.

“We’re concerned that how many years this has gone on that there are both known and unknown victims that we are not aware of yet,” Polovny said.

The FBI told KOIN 6 News it assisted with the investigation, but that Washington County was the lead agency.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 503.846.2500.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.