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A Virginia man — described by authorities as a white supremacist who “runs a website which encourages the raping of children” and who once spent time in federal prison for threatening to kill the president — was arrested after allegedly kidnapping a 12-year-old girl and attempting to fly her across the country.
Nathan Larson, 40, is now facing felony charges of kidnapping, child abduction, soliciting child pornography from a minor and meeting a child for the intention of sex after authorities said he convinced the young girl to run away from her California home in the early morning hours of Dec. 14.
“This particular case is extremely disturbing (and) very far-reaching across our nation,” Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said in a press conference Saturday announcing the charges.
Larson — who had allegedly forced the young girl to wear a long, dark wig and pretend she was mute while they were traveling together — was apprehended by a Denver police officer Dec. 14 at the airport during a scheduled layover. Larson had allegedly been attempting to take the young girl back to his Virginia home, authorities said.
The young girl was “uninjured” and reunited with her family later that night.
“As a result of this investigation we have a family who is going to be celebrating the holidays and they won’t have an empty chair,” Mims said. “They’ve got their little girl back with them.”
Mims said the multi-agency investigation, which included the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children task force and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), revealed that Larson flew from his home in Virginia to Fresno and then traveled to the young girl’s home, after corresponding with her through social media for months.
Authorities believe the pair began first communicating in October and allege that he was able to convince the young girl to send him pornographic images through “manipulation and grooming” before he later traveled to retrieve her.
“He persuaded her to sneak out of her house around 2 in the morning,” Mims said. “He used a rideshare company to pick her up and to together they rode to the Fresno airport.”
Detectives were able to identify Larson as a suspect in the case after an acquaintance of the girl told authorities that the missing girl had been communicating with him before she disappeared, Mims said.
Using “quick forensic and detective work” authorities determined that the pair had gone to the Fresno airport and reached out to the Fresno Airport Police, who working in conjunction with HSI, were able to determine that a man who appeared to be Larson and a young girl were seen boarding a plane to Washington D.C.
Authorities determined the flight would have a planned layover in Denver and were able to apprehend Larson, who is currently being held in Colorado on a misdemeanor charge of harboring a minor.
Mims said officials plan to request his extradition back to California, where he is facing the felony charges, at a court hearing scheduled for Thursday.
As the investigation into Larson continued, Mims said authorities made some disturbing revelations about his past.
“He is a white supremacist and a well-known advocate for pedophilia,” she said at the press conference. “This is a man who runs a website which encourages the raping of children, and sharing the naked photos and videos of children being raped.”
According to Mims, Larson also once ran as an independent for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 31st District. He lost that bid in 2017 but “part of his platform was to change laws to allow for incestual relationships and sex with minors,” she said.
Larson also served time in federal prison after he sent a detailed email to the U.S. Secret Service threatening to kill the president in December of 2008.
He pleadee guilty in a federal court the following year and was sentenced to 16 months behind bars. He was released after serving 14 months, Mims said.
Authorities believe due to the “sophisticated nature” of how he groomed the 12-year-old, he may have had previous, unidentified victims.
“It’s obvious that Larson had the ability to be in contact with children across the nation and the willingness and the means to travel to abduct them,” she said. “We believe that there are other victims out there.”
She urged parents to remain “vigilant” about their child’s internet and social media use.
“Be aware of the apps that they are using,” she said. “Parents should keep the dialogue open with their children in order to build trust. Online predators often pretend to be someone else in order to lure their victims and take advantage of them.”
On Thursday, as authorities in Virginia attempted to serve a search warrant at Larson’s home, his 69-year-old father Arthur Larson allegedly assaulted an HSI agent and was taken into custody and charged with assault and battery. He was later released from jail after posting bond.
During the execution of the search warrant, investigators seized electronic devices from the home.
Investigators praised the efforts of the multiple agencies that worked together to make the Larson’s arrest possible.
“Every day HSI agents and analysts work around the clock and around the world to investigate crimes involving the exploitation of children,” Jeff Brannigan, an assistant special agent-in-charge for Homeland Security Investigations in the Central Valley said at the press conference. “This case is a true example of the value of local and federal cooperation in matters affecting public safety.”
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