TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office filed additional charges against 18-year-old Kai Ranaglia-Nelson of Coolidge.
The suspect was arrested back in January for sexually extorting two teen girls from Australia. Australian authorities started to investigate after a 13-year-old and 14-year-old girl came forward. Detectives learned inappropriate photos were exchanged between the victims and the suspect. The suspect then threatened to expose the images if the girls did not continue sending photos. In one case, the suspect released one of the pictures of the victim after she stopped sending him pictures. Detectives in Australia believed the suspect was in Pinal County and contacted our investigators. PCSO was able to track down the suspect to an address in Coolidge, Arizona and alerted our detectives.
PCSO served a search warrant and identified Kai Ranaglia-Nelson, who later admitted to detectives his involvement in extorting the victims.
Since his arrest, detectives uncovered evidence that shows Ranaglia-Nelson did the same thing to other young girls. The investigation revealed over a dozen additional victims, some as young as nine, were being extorted by the suspect. Two of those victims were from the Phoenix metro area. The others were in Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, and New York.
“Children do not understand the situation they are exposing themselves to when they send a photo. Even sending an innocent picture could reveal their exact geolocation to a predator,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb. “An appropriate photo could put them at risk of getting exploited. So please talk to your children.”
At this time, Ranaglia-Nelson is charged with 21 felony counts, including Sexual Extortion, Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation. Many of these charges hold the additional enhancement of being deemed Dangerous Crimes against a Child, due to the ages of the victims.