A 40-year-old Virginia man with “a deeply disturbing background” was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a 12-year-old Fresno girl who was rescued at an airport, officials said Saturday.

Nathan Daniel Larson met the child through social media and flew to Fresno, where he went to the girl’s home and “persuaded her to sneak out of her house” around 2 a.m. Monday, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said.

They took a ride-share car to the Fresno airport, where he made the child wear a wig and “told her to act as though she was disabled and unable to speak to ensure she would not converse with anyone at the airport while making their way onto the airplane,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

The child’s family discovered she was gone hours after she and Larson left, and called Fresno law enforcement, which received information that the girl may have been coerced into running away with a man, Fresno Sheriff-Coroner Margaret Mims said.

Officers found out that Larson and a young girl had boarded a plane bound for Washington D.C., with a layover in Denver.

In Denver, a police officer assigned to a local FBI task force spotted Larson and took him into custody. 

Agents rescued the girl, who was not injured, and reunited her with her family in Fresno Monday night.

“During the investigation, detectives uncovered Nathan Larson has a deeply disturbing background.  He is a white supremacist and a well-known advocate for pedophilia,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “This is a man who runs a website, which encourages the raping of children and sharing of naked photos and video of children being raped.” 

Nathan Larson’s home in Catlett, Virginia is seen in a photo shared by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
Nathan Larson’s home in Catlett, Virginia is seen in a photo shared by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

“During the past two months, Larson was able to convince the Fresno girl, through manipulation and grooming, to send him pornographic images of herself,” the Sheriff’s Office said. 

This isn’t Larson’s first run-in with law enforcement.

In 2009, Larson served 14 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to sending a “detailed” email to the U.S. Secret Service threatening to kill the President of the United States the year before. At the time, George Bush was the outgoing president and Barack Obama was President-elect.

Eight years later, Larson ran for political office as an independent, seeking to become a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing District 31.  He lost the race. 

As of Saturday, Larson was being held at a Denver jail on suspicion of harboring a minor.  But he faces felony charges in Fresno County for kidnapping, child abduction, soliciting child pornography from a minor and meeting a child for the intention of sex, officials said.

Fresno officials will request that he be extradited to California.

Because of “the sophisticated nature of how Larson groomed this Fresno girl,” detectives believe there may be other victims.

Anyone who knows of someone who had inappropriate contact with Larson is asked to call Fresno County Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Pursell at 559-600-8029 or brandon.pursell@fresnosheriff.org, or Sgt. Chad Stokes at 559-600-8144, chad.stokes@fresnosheriff.org

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By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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