Willmar man jailed on charges of molesting young girl

A girl reported to police in a South Dakota city that she had been touched inappropriately by a man when she lived in Willmar from 2017-2019. The man is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail.

Edwin Pineda Diaz.jpg
Pineda Diaz

WILLMAR — A Willmar man is in the Kandiyohi County Jail on charges he molested a minor several times over about 18 months.

Edwin Leopoldo Pineda Diaz, 46, of Willmar, made his first court appearance last week in Kandiyohi County District Court on four felony charges — two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for repeated sexual contact with a minor.

Bail for Pineda Diaz has been set at $100,000 for release without conditions and $50,000 for release with conditions.

His next court date is Jan. 29.

According to court records, a child reported to the Watertown, South Dakota, Police Department that she had been molested by Pineda Diaz between December 2017 and summer 2019, when she was living in Willmar. PIneda Diaz is 33 years older than the child.


The Willmar Police Department was notified of the report in late December.

The girl said the incidents occurred while she was living with a relative in Willmar. The relative had a relationship with Pineda Diaz, whom she knew by the nickname Polo.

According to court records, the girl told authorities that in December 2017 she was showering when Pineda Diaz opened the shower door and touched her body several times. She was 10 at the time.

In a second incident for which no approximate date was given, Pineda Diaz allegedly approached her in a hallway and showed her a photo of a bra on his phone and asked if she wanted it. When she said yes, he touched her chest, saying he was figuring out what size to buy.

In summer 2019, the girl said she was taking a shower when Pineda Diaz again came into the bathroom and touched her body. He allegedly repeated those actions later in summer 2019, again as she was showering.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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