published Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Police: Man told 13-year-old girl he had leukemia, asked for nude photos to 'ease the pain'

A 21-year-old Red Bank man is accused of trying to lure a 13-year-old girl to Northgate Mall after asking her on Facebook to send nude pictures of herself, according to Chattanooga police.

He told the girl he had leukemia and that the pictures would ease the pain.

James Nickolas Renfro, who does not have leukemia, faces charges of solicitation of a minor, evading arrest, two counts of aggravated assault and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The girl told Renfro that she was only 13-years-old. He persisted in his request for the photos, according to an arrest report. At one point he offered money for photos.

Renfro later told investigator Zach Fuller that “he would have sent nude pictures of himself to the 13-year-old girl if she would have asked.”

Police logged on the account posing as the girl with the permission of the girl’s mother.

When Renfro was told that the girl would be at Northgate Mall alone, he asked to meet her and take her to another place.

“The defendant told the 13-year-old girl he would be gentle and not to be nervous,” the report states.

When Renfro arrived at the mall Wednesday afternoon, Chattanooga police officers were waiting to take him into custody. They converged on him while he was still in his vehicle.

As an officer tried to open the driver’s side door of his car, he put the vehicle in reverse, striking the officer with the vehicle. Renfro continued to drive in reverse, colliding with a sergeant’s vehicle. She was inside the car. Renfro attempted to flee and was apprehended in the mall parking lot as other officers closed in.

As police were arresting him, Renfro said he didn’t know the girl was 8-years-old. Police also found a marijuana pipe in his car.

He later told officers he knew what he was doing and took responsibility.

Renfro is scheduled to appear before Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes Jan. 22. He remains in custody on a $240,000 bond.

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