A Fauquier County man who ran for Prince William County seats in Congress and the state House of Delegates was arrested in Denver last week after he allegedly coaxed a 12-year-old California girl to send him pornographic images of herself and then sneak out of her home to join him on a flight back to Virginia, according to police.
Nathan Daniel Larson, 40, of Catlett, Virginia, faces felony charges for kidnapping, child abduction, soliciting child pornography from a minor and meeting a child for the intention of sex in connection with his Dec. 14 arrest.
Larson challenged former state delegate Scott Lingamfelter in the 2017 race for the House of Delegates 31st District, which straddles Fauquier and Prince William counties. Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D) won the race, but Larson, already a convicted felon for threatening to kill the U.S. president in 2008, made headlines for his criminal background and for websites he created espousing misogyny and child pornography. Larson also briefly ran for U.S. Congress in the 10th District in 2018.
Larson was arrested at a Denver airport where he was found to be in the company of a missing girl during a layover enroute to Washington. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and Fresno Police Department received a report of a missing 12-year-old Fresno girl that morning. Early in the investigation, detectives determined the girl may have been coerced into running away with an older man whom she met online in mid-October, according to a Fresno County Sheriff’s Office press release.
The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office said it also received an anonymous call on Dec. 14 that Larson was traveling to Fresno to interact with a 12-year-old girl, according to Sgt. Steven Lewis, of the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office.
Fresno law-enforcement officials said their information suggested the girl was possibly heading to Fresno Yosemite International Airport to catch a cross-country flight to Virginia to be with an older man. At that point, detectives with the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force took charge of the investigation, the press release said.
Detectives received assistance from members of Fresno Airport Police and Homeland Security Investigations, who revealed that a man, later identified to be Larson, was seen with a young girl.
The two boarded a plane bound for Washington D.C. with a layover in Denver. Detectives contacted law enforcement authorities there, and a Denver police officer assigned to the local FBI Task Force located Larson and arrested him, according to the press release.
Agents rescued the girl, who was uninjured, and made arrangements to reunite her with her family in Fresno the night of Dec. 14.
“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. … 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,” Fresno County Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Pursell said in a phone call Saturday.
Once Larson was in custody, detectives learned more about the abduction and the events leading up to it, which Fresno authorities detailed in their news release.
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. and used a ride share company to pick her up, the release said.
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, the release said.
During the past two months, Larson was able to convince the girl to send him pornographic images of herself, the release said.
On Thursday, Dec. 17, Fauquier County detectives, agents with Homeland Security Investigations and the Northern Virginia/District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force seized electronic devices while executing a search warrant at Larson’s home on Prospect Avenue in Catlett.
While law enforcement officers were at the house, Larson’s father, Arthur Larson, 69, allegedly assaulted a Homeland Security Investigations agent. The elder Larson was arrested and charged with for assault and battery in connection with the incident and was later released from jail after posting a personal recognizance bond, according to the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office.
Fauquier County Sheriff Robert P. Mosier praised the Fresno Police Department for their quick action to find the missing girl and take the Nathan Larson into custody.
“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.
Mosier said he wanted to especially note the "investigative excellence and commitment" of Fauquier County Detective Candyce Shaw.
Larson remained in the in the Denver County jail on Saturday, Dec. 19. He is scheduled to have a court hearing in Denver on Thursday, Dec. 24, when an extradition request will be made to transport him to the Fresno County jail, the press release said.
‘Deeply disturbing background’
During their investigation, Fresno detectives uncovered Larson’s “deeply disturbing background,” the release said.
Larson is “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.
While living in Boulder, Colorado, in December 2008, Larson sent a detailed email to the U.S. Secret Service threatening to kill the president of the United States. At the time, President George Bush was the outgoing president and President Barack Obama was president-elect.
Larson pleaded guilty to the charges in federal court. In October 2009, he was sentenced to 16 months in a federal prison and served 14 months.
Because of the sophisticated way Larson groomed the Fresno girl from for abduction and abuse, detectives believe he may have victimized other children. Law enforcement does not have any reports of such abuse, however, said the press release.
Pursell described Larson as a “master manipulator.”
“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,” Pursell said. “Larson is exactly the kind of person we warn parents about.”
Anyone who has ever had inappropriate contact with Nathan Larson is asked to contact Pursell at 559-600-8029 or email@example.com, or Sgt. Chad Stokes at 559-600-8144, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pursell said, “We truly are looking for other victims. I believe this is not the end of this.”
Reach Robin Earl at email@example.com