A 40-year-old man who once ran for a Virginia delegate seat has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a 12-year-old California girl he met online, law enforcement officials said.
Nathan Daniel Larson, of Catlett, Virginia, was arrested earlier this week at Denver International Airport during a layover from Fresno, California, as he was heading home to Virginia with the girl, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
Larson was being held in Denver County Jail and faces felony charges in Fresno for kidnapping, child abduction, soliciting child pornography from a minor and meeting a child for the intention of sex. He is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 24.
The 12-year-old girl, who had been reported missing, was reunited with her family and was not injured, the sheriff’s office said.
It was unclear whether Larson was represented by an attorney.
According to police, Larson met the child in October on social media and “through manipulation and grooming,” convinced her to send inappropriate photos of herself. Eventually, Larson allegedly talked the victim into running away with him.
Authorities in California received a missing person’s report on Dec. 14 that indicated the girl might be heading to Fresno Yosemite International Airport with an older man. Working in concert with the Department of Homeland Security and airport officials, law enforcement officers traced Larson and his victim to a Virginia-bound flight.
Larson allegedly coaxed the girl into sneaking out of her at house at 2 a.m. At the airport, she was instructed to wear a wig and pretend that she couldn’t speak because of a disability, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
While searching Larson’s Virginia home, detectives seized electronic devices containing evidence that Larson ran a website encouraging pedophilia and other violent acts against children, officials said. He is also believed to be a white supremacist, according to the sheriff’s office.
Larson’s father allegedly assaulted law enforcement officers during the search. He was arrested and later released after posting bail.
In 2008, while living in Boulder, Colorado, Larson sent a detailed email to the U.S. Secret Service threatening to kill the president, authorities said. At the time, President George W. Bush was the outgoing president, and Barack Obama had not yet been sworn into office. Larson pleaded guilty in federal court and served 14 months in prison.
In 2017, Larson ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the Virginia House of Delegates.