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Gulfport landlord's discovery could lead to child porn charges against former tenant

GULFPORT — The landlord was hardly surprised by what he found under the bed of a man he had just evicted: six discs labeled "pics" and "videos" containing pornographic images, some involving animals or children.

Richard Misenhelder, the tenant, was already in jail in Lakeland on charges of traveling to meet a minor for sex and will likely face more charges because of Ulf Lindroth's discovery.

Richard Misenhelder, 45, has been in jail since May 8 after arranging to meet someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl named Vanessa. He was met instead by Polk County sheriff's deputies on charges of traveling to meet a minor for sex, using a computer to seduce a child, unlawful use of a two-way communication device and attempted lewd and lascivious battery on a child under 16.

He was among 22 men arrested in an undercover investigation. Lindroth didn't immediately know his tenant had been arrested. Misenhelder moved into the apartment at 3120 57th Street S a week earlier. When he didn't pay his rent, Lindroth grew suspicious.

"He just disappeared," Lindroth said. "I tried reaching him and I never got a reply. Eventually, I figured out what was going on."

So Lindroth decided to evict Misenhelder. He contacted a cousin of Misenhelder's and asked her to pick up Misenhelder's belongings. She declined.

When Lindroth began cleaning out Misenhelder's things, he said he stumbled across the labeled discs.

"By then, I already knew what he was about," Lindroth said. "I can't say I was shocked, but it wasn't pleasant."

He turned them over to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on June 8.

The discs contained "multiple images including some short videos of children engaged in actual and simulated sexual intercourse," according to search warrant issued Friday.

The warrant states the discs will serve as probable cause in charging Misenhelder in child porn possession. Pinellas investigators seized the discs to determine how much illegal material they contained.

Lindroth, who ran a background check on Misenhelder before leasing the apartment to him, said he seemed like a "typical" guy.

"He basically threw everything away doing this," he said.

Gulfport landlord's discovery could lead to child porn charges against former tenant 08/16/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 11:33pm]
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