Local News

Authorities: Sex offender tried to grab Fayetteville girl walking home from school bus stop

Posted February 5, 2020 11:23 a.m. EST
Updated February 5, 2020 6:12 p.m. EST

— A registered sex offender was charged Tuesday with trying to abduct a 14-year-old Fayetteville girl on her way home after school.

Nathan Lynn Cooley, 34, of 5333 block of Williamsburg Drive in Fayetteville, was charged with attempted second-degree kidnapping. He remains in the Cumberland County jail, and District Judge Lou Olivera on Wednesday raised his bond from $250,000 to $1 million.

The girl told deputies that she got off her school bus near the intersection of Tammy and Charlie streets and was walking home when a white car passed her, turned around and came back toward her. The driver pulled up next to her and asked if she knew how to get to Ramsey Street, she said. When she replied that she didn't, she reported that the driver said, "Well, how sbout you just get in the car with me?"

The girl said the man appeared to be getting out of the car, so she ran to her house.

She described the man as heavyset, white, bald and bearded, and authorities were able to quickly identify Cooley as the suspect, noting the GPS monitor he was wearing showed him in the area at the time.

"That's the first place we go – we look at what sex offenders we have in the area, and we start with a description to see if it matches anybody," said Lt. Sean Swain, spokesman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. "Luckily enough, we were able to put this together quick. He was GPS monitored, [which] put him in the area. Then, [there was] video of his car in the area."

Cooley has been on North Carolina's sex offender registry since December 2016 and is listed as a recidivist because of several sex offense-related convictions, including attempted rape of a 13-year-old in 2005, indecent liberties with a minor involving a 15-year-old in 2011 and kidnapping of a minor and indecent liberties with a minor involving an 11-year-old in 2015, according to state records.

Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West said keeping GPS monitors on registered sex offenders is critical to preventing them from committing more crimes.

"We were able to pinpoint where he was and his connection – at least the allegation and his connection – to this particular crime," West said.

If Cooley is released on bond, Olivera ordered that he remain on house arrest with a GPS monitor. He also is prohibited from contacting the girl or her family and from having any unsupervised contact with children.

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