East Texas school threatened from abroad

East Texas school threatened from abroad
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POSTED: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 1:05pm

UPDATED: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 1:06pm

On Thursday Nov 3, 2011 Cherokee County CID was notified by Jacksonville PD Investigators that there was a possible threat of a student coming to one of the schools and "shooting everyone in site".  The initial information was somewhat vague because the original call was from a mother in North Carolina who's stepson had seen the threat posted on Facebook.

She looked at the students Facebook page which indicated he lived in "Mt. Heaven, Texas" and Google showed that to be the "Mt Haven" community off FM 747 North just outside Jacksonville.

Jacksonville PD disseminated the initial information to Jacksonville ISD Police and to Cherokee County Investigators.  As Jacksonville PD and Jacksonville ISD PD attempted to identify the student (which was complicated by the name shown and the profile name - which were different), Cherokee County sent two Investigators to FM-747 in an attempt locate the individual or possible family members.

Cherokee County Investigators immediately contacted Facebook with an "Exigent Circumstances" information request on the IP (Internet Protocol) address and profile information.  The IP address information can give investigators a better understanding of where the posts to Facebook were originating.

Facebook responded in remarkable time, 8 minutes, from the time the request was made to the time Investigators were tracing the IP address back to a Internet Service Provider (ISP) out of Auckland, New Zealand.  Although that information had been received, Investigators continued following up on information for FM-747 and the administration at JBC while Jacksonville PD Investigators continued with Jacksonville ISD officials and Lon Morris College.

Cherokee County Investigators were also actively searching for other profiles based on the name given to them by Facebook, which did contain a third (and true) name of the student.  Another profile of the student was located, and that profile also indicated that he was from New Zealand.  A school was identified based on that profile and emails were sent to the administration of Rangiora High School in North Canterbury, New Zealand and the local police department that covers that area.

Because of the time difference, there was a delay of several hours before a response from New Zealand was received; However, by 10:00am Investigators with Cherokee County Sheriff's Office and Jacksonville PD were satisfied with the information they had gathered, the leads followed, and were confident that no threat actually existed in this community.

At approximately 4:30pm Cherokee County Investigator Dusty Lee received an email from the principal of Rangiora High School thanking the Department for the information on the student. Officials with the local police department stated they located the student who confessed to making the threats.
In part the email reads, "The student has now been located and interviewed with the police and his father present.  He has admitted to writing the comments and was extremely distressed.  He is already known to us as the victim of severe bullying and has been receiving counselling as a result.

We have assessed him as 'no threat to our students' safety at this time and he is being monitored and supported to resolve the issues he currently faces.  I cannot thank you enough for your proactive approach.  As a school and as a community we owe you a debt of gratitude for your proactive assistance."

Information from Cherokee County Sheriff's Department

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