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Press Release

Cobb County man sentenced to 20 years for kidnapping 12-year-old from Barrow County

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - James Anthony Reynolds, who drove a 12-year-old girl from Barrow County, Georgia, to Acworth, Georgia, and sexually assaulted and then abandoned her in a Walmart parking lot in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

“Child sexual predators are increasingly exploiting social media platforms to target vulnerable minors,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan.  “While our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners remain steadfast in identifying these criminals, and our office is committed to prosecuting these individuals to the fullest extent of the law, we strongly urge parents to stay vigilant in monitoring their children’s Internet activity, including their use of apps on electronic devices. Thankfully, the minor victim in this case is safe after being reunited with her family.”

“No prison sentence can repair the damage James Anthony Reynolds has done. We hope this sentencing is of great comfort to the victim and her family,” said FBI Atlanta Assistant Special Agent in Charge Sean Burke. “The FBI is committed to partnering with our law enforcement partners to prevent, deter, and punish crimes like these.”

“This sentencing represents the determination of our agents and law enforcement partners to catch dangerous predators,” said Chris Hosey, Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation.  “This should serve as a warning to those who seek to prey on our most vulnerable that the GBI and our partners will never cease in our mission. As the threats to children online continue to grow, we will remain vigilant and adapt our methods to protect our children and hold predators accountable.”

“As Sheriff I am very proud of the work all agencies did to catch this predator and get him off the streets so that no one else could possibly fall victim to his crimes,” said Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith.  “Human trafficking is a real problem and I urge if you or anyone you know might be in trouble to call your local law enforcement or the GA Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking at 866-363-4842.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: In May 2020, the victim then 12 years old, met a man online on a social media app. During the early morning hours of May 7, 2020, this man, later identified as James Anthony Reynolds, picked up the child, violently and sexually assaulted her, and drove her to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Reynolds then abandoned the child in a Walmart parking lot. The young girl approached a Walmart employee who, fortunately, was able to help the child reach her parents.

James Anthony Reynolds, 25, of Acworth, Georgia, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release.  On November 1, 2023, Reynolds pleaded guilty to kidnapping. He continues to face additional charges related to this case in state court.

This case was investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Barrow County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Keen prosecuted the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated January 31, 2024

Project Safe Childhood
Violent Crime