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UPDATED: Nathan Larson of Catlett arrested in Denver on kidnapping, child pornography charges

Police describe former candidate for 31st District as ‘white supremacist, advocate for pedophilia’

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nathan larson arrested

Nathan Larson, upon his arrest in Denver, Colorado.

Nathan Daniel Larson, 40, of Catlett, faces felony charges in Fresno County, California, for kidnapping, child abduction, soliciting child pornography from a minor and meeting a child for the intention of sex. He also is charged with a misdemeanor for harboring a minor in Denver, where he was arrested. 

Larson is currently in the Denver County Jail. He is scheduled to have a court hearing in Denver on Dec. 24, when an extradition request will be made to transport him to the Fresno County Jail. 

A press release from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said that on the morning of Monday, Dec. 14, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and Fresno Police Department received a report of a missing 12-year-old Fresno girl. Early in the investigation, detectives received information that the girl may have been coerced into running away with an older man whom she had met through social media in mid-October. 

nathan larson candidate

Nathan Larson, when he was a candidate for the 31st District House of Delegate's seat.

The search warrant affidavit on file in Fauquier County, dated Dec. 17, reported that Larson had been communicating with the girl “on an online gaming application called Discord, and also on a rape and kidnap website.” 

According to the search warrant affidavit, a friend of the victim told Fresno detectives that the girl began telling him about Larson about two weeks ago and told him that she was in love with him. On Nov. 22, the affidavit said, Larson sent a message to the victim, “telling her he will kidnap her and for her to communicate with him on the online application KIK.” 

Sgt. Steven Lewis of the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office said that that the sheriff’s office received an anonymous call on Dec. 14 indicating that Larson was traveling to Fresno to meet with a 12-year-old girl. 

Around the same time, California law enforcement officials received a tip that the girl might be traveling to the Fresno airport to take a plane to Virginia to meet a man. At this point, detectives with the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force took charge of the investigation, according to the Fresno Sheriff’s Department. 

Investigators from the Fresno Airport Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security then got involved, the press release said. They discovered that a man – later identified as Larson – was seen boarding a Washington, D.C.-bound plane in Fresno with a young girl. 

Because the flight was scheduled for a layover in Denver, authorities contacted law enforcement officials there to apprehend Larson. A Denver police officer assigned to the local FBI Task Force located Larson and arrested him, according to the press release. 

Officers also rescued the girl, who was uninjured, and made arrangements to reunite her with her family in Fresno the night of Dec. 14. 

Arthur larson

Nathan Larson's father, Arthur Larson, is accused of assaulting a Homeland Security agent.

“One of the amazing aspects of this case is that from the time we got the first call to the time the girl was reunited with her family was only 12 hours,” said Lt. Brandon Pursell of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office in a phone call Saturday. It was one of those things, we were so fortunate that things fell into place so quickly. The timing on everything was so amazing. The folks in the airports in Fresno and in Denver were very helpful.” 

Once Larson was in custody, detectives learned more about the how the abduction took place, the press release said. Larson flew to Fresno from Virginia and then traveled to the girl’s home. He persuaded her to sneak out of her house around 2 a.m. He used a ride share company to pick her up and together they rode to the Fresno airport. Larson made the girl wear a wig with long hair to alter her appearance. He also 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, police said. 

On Dec. 17, Fauquier County detectives, agents with Homeland Security Investigations and the Northern Virginia/District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force seized multiple computers, along with 17 hard drives with more than 10 terabytes of capacity while executing a search warrant at Larson’s home on Prospect Avenue in Catlett. The details were revealed in the search warrant affidavit, submitted by Detective C. Shaw of the Fauquier sheriff’s office. 

Lewis said that while law enforcement officers were at the house, Larson’s father, 69-year-old Arthur Larson, allegedly assaulted an HSI agent. Larson’s father was arrested for assault and battery and was later released from jail after posting a recognizance bond. 

The affidavit said Larson’s mother had provided a credit card for Larson to buy the plane tickets for himself and the girl. (Larson’s mother has not been charged with a crime.) The affidavit said, “Mr. Larson was planning on returning to his residence in Catlett with the 12-year-old girl.” 

‘Deeply disturbing background’ 

The press release from Fresno said that detectives uncovered Nathan Larson’s “deeply disturbing background.” The release described Larson as “a white supremacist and a well-known advocate for pedophilia. Larson runs a website that encourages the raping of children and the sharing of naked photos and video of children being raped,” the release said. 

During the past two months, said the release, Larson was able to convince the Fresno girl to send him pornographic images of herself. 

Because of the sophisticated way Larson groomed the girl from for abduction and abuse, detectives believe he has victimized other children as well. However, law enforcement does not have any reports of such abuse, said the press release. 

Pursell described Larson as a “master manipulator.” He explained, “pedophiles and predators find ways to manipulate their victims … He had the girl believing things that weren’t true. It’s all part of the grooming process … As a 12-year-old girl, our victim had no way to conceptualize what was happening – or what could have happened -- to her.’ 

“Larson is exactly the kind of person we warn parents about,” he added. 

Anyone who has ever had inappropriate contact with Nathan Larson is asked to contact Pursell at 559-600-8029 or brandon.pursell@fresnosheriff.org or Sgt. Chad Stokes at 559-600-8144 or chad.stokes@fresnosheriff.org. 

Pursell said, “We truly are looking for other victims. I believe this is not the end of this.” 

Fauquier County Sheriff Robert P. Mosier praised the Fresno Police Department for their quick action and said, “This is an example of ongoing collaborative efforts involving local and federal law enforcement, combined with the hard work of local investigative efforts on both the West and East Coast. This arrest in Denver, Colorado, and follow-up investigation in Catlett, Virginia, signifies that if you attempt to steal the innocence of a child, we as law enforcement are committed to prevention efforts and to hold would-be and actual perpetrators accountable.” 

Mosier said he wanted to especially note the investigative excellence and commitment of Fauquier Detective Shaw. 

Reach Robin Earl at rearl@fauquier.com 

Nathan Larson's home

Fauquier County Sheriff's Office deputies execute a search warrant at the home of Nathan Larson in Catlett.

 

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