Men accused of trying to kidnap Encinitas teen ordered to stand trial

Posted at 3:49 PM, Oct 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-05 18:49:14-04

VISTA (CNS) - Two men accused of trying to abduct a 15-year-old Encinitas girl as she was waxing her surfboard in front of her home must stand trial on felony charges, including attempted kidnapping for rape, a judge ruled Thursday.

Jeremiah Owens, 28, and Christopher White, 27, each face nine years in prison if convicted.

According to the Sheriff's Department, the victim was in front of her family's home in the 1600 block of Neptune Avenue about 5:30 p.m. on July 26 when a slim man in board shorts -- alleged to be Owens -- grabbed her from behind, tackled her and pinned her to the ground.

As the assailant tried to drag the teen toward a nearby pickup truck occupied by a second man -- alleged to be White -- she was able to break free and run into her home unharmed.

According to testimony at a two-day preliminary hearing, the girl overheard White say to Owens, "Go in the house (after her)." The men then fled.

Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens alleged that days earlier, Owens had talked to a friend about "grabbing a girl."

White was arrested two days after the alleged assault, after a witness reported seeing a pickup truck matching the description of the one used by the suspects. Owens was arrested several hours later in Escondido.

In addition to attempted kidnapping for rape, the defendants are charged with assault with intent to commit rape, contact with a minor with the intent of committing a sexual offense and false imprisonment.

Judge Robert Kearney -- saying the defendants would pose a threat if released -- ordered them held without bail.

A readiness conference is set for Nov. 1 and trial for Dec. 6.