Portland man accused of punching 5-year-old Japanese girl and her dad re-arrested after court no-show

  • Dylan J. Kesterson, 34, was arrested for a second time after failing to show up to his arraignment hearing on Wednesday.
  • Kesterson is accused of repeatedly punching a 36-year-old man and his 5-year-old daughter along Portland, Oregon’s Eastbank Esplanade on Saturday because he thought they were Japanese.
  • Kesterson is facing multiple charges, including assault, bias crime and harassment.

A man from Portland, Oregon, who is facing a slew of charges for allegedly attacking a Japanese family over the weekend has been re-arrested after failing to appear in court for his arraignment on Wednesday.

Dylan J. Kesterson, 34, was first arrested shortly after the alleged incident occurred along Portland’s Eastbank Esplanade on Saturday afternoon. Kesterson allegedly punched a 36-year-old man and his 5-year-old daughter because he thought they were Japanese, according to police.

The father, his daughter and his wife, who were visiting from California, were riding bikes at around 3:45 p.m. when Kesterson allegedly approached them and began yelling anti-Asian slurs. The male victim said Kesterson then hit him in the head “more than 50 times” before turning to his daughter and punching her helmet-protected head “numerous times.”

Kesterson, who reportedly has no prior convictions, was booked into Multnomah County Jail and released later that day on pretrial supervision before his arraignment hearing on Wednesday. However, an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to show up to his hearing.

“We felt we might be killed,” the male victim said during the arraignment. “This is a very horrible experience for us and if he’s released, we believe a lot of Japanese and other Asians will be injured.”

John Needham, one of the witnesses who assisted authorities with finding Kesterson after the attack, told KOIN 6 they are “baffled” that he was released on the same day. “We followed him precisely because we feared he would attack another vulnerable party of Asian heritage,” Needham said.

Dylan J. Kesterson. Image via Portland Police Bureau

On Wednesday afternoon, an off-duty officer spotted Kesterson near Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Jefferson Street and called for backup. Kesterson was caught about a block away and booked him into Multnomah County Jail once again.

Kesterson has been charged with fourth-degree assault, second-degree attempted assault, third-degree attempted assault, two counts of first-degree bias crime, second-degree bias crime and harassment. He pleaded not guilty to all counts on Tuesday.

The attack reportedly left the male victim with headaches and a mild concussion, while his daughter was left traumatized. His wife, who witnessed the incident, was not reported to be assaulted.

“Every one of my friends recommended me to visit Portland because it is a good city. But for us, it is hard to visit there anymore,” the man told KGW, adding that their family has since returned to California.

Portland Commissioner Mingus Mapps has condemned the incident and expressed concern after Kesterson’s initial release. On Tuesday, District Attorney Mike Schmidt asked for the suspect to be rebooked and held without bail. 

Kesterson is scheduled for a hearing at 9:45 a.m. today.

Featured Image via KPTV FOX 12 Oregon

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