A federal grand jury for the Eastern District of Missouri in Cape Girardeau returned an indictment March 1 against a Missouri man in connection with the arson of the Round Spring Visitor Contact Station in Ozark National Scenic Riverways last December.
According to the four-count indictment, Marvin “Mark” Remster, 39, of Davisville, is charged with the felony offenses of arson, burglary, theft of government property and felon-in-possession of a firearm. The arson charge is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years. The investigation remains ongoing.
The charges stemmed from a reported fire at the Round Spring Visitor Contact Station on the night of Dec. 26, 2021. National Park Service (NPS) law enforcement rangers responded to the scene and observed the building was engulfed in flames. Local firefighters from Timber and Eminence extinguished the blaze, but the building was a total loss.
During fire suppression efforts, authorities determined that a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pickup belonging to the NPS had been stolen from the parking lot. Evidence at the scene indicated the fire was incendiary in nature and a joint criminal investigation was undertaken by NPS law enforcement rangers and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).
During the investigation information was received from the Shannon County sheriff, other cooperating law enforcement agencies and members of the public leading to several search warrants that were executed at locations in the surrounding area. NPS and ATF investigators were able to recover evidence that may assist other local agencies with solving recent crimes.
“We are grateful to members of the public who came forward to provide information, as well as other local agencies who contributed to the investigation, especially the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the respective sheriff’s offices in Dent, Shannon and Reynolds Counties,” said Superintendent Jason Lott. “Our law enforcement rangers at Ozark National Scenic Riverways are dedicated to promoting a safe environment for park visitors, staff and partners, and appreciate the cooperative efforts of other local agencies that help us accomplish that goal.”
The loss of the Round Spring Visitor Contact Station and the stolen government vehicle are substantial losses, however what cannot be measured is the loss of park historical items associated with the structure. Planning is underway for both temporary and long-term replacements for the visitor contact station to minimize the impact of the crime on park visitors.