Quick action, investigation lead to charges in Scottsburg’s bomb threat hoax

Published: Sep. 10, 2019 at 7:47 PM EDT
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SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WAVE) – “Too many times things do happen that are not hoaxes. So every call in like this has to be taken very seriously,” Indiana State Police spokesman Carey Huls said.

A bomb threat at a Scottsburg, Ind., school Monday was identified quickly as a hoax, bringing real-world punishment for the student behind it. A 15-year-old Scottsburg High School sophomore is facing felony intimidation charges after allegedly sending an anonymous text about a bomb in a school locker, leading to a building evacuation and a search for the phony bomb.

Quick action by police and school leaders put many at ease.

“As a father of two, I definitely wouldn’t want the school system to be nonchalanat about something like this,” said Ryan Houchen, a parent and Floyd County resident.

Many parents from Scottsburg High School echoed a similar message on social media after the hoax evacuated the school Monday.

A Scottsburg High School parent said she and her husband were quickly notified by the school about the threat and again later to let them know it was a false alarm.

The text message that sparked the search by bomb-sniffing K9s from Jefferson County, Ky., and area police was sent through an anonymous texting app. But anonymous or no, police say that often doesn’t stop them from tracking down the sender.

“Many times, people will use apps, texting apps, in an attempt to disguise their true identity, they believe it can be done without somebody actually knowing who they are,” Huls said. “In a situation like this and a serious investigation like this, naturally we’re going to look into it a little bit deeper.”

That anonymous text message came in around 9:45 a.m., and less than five hours later, police had tracked down the 15-year-old student who’d sent it and arrested him. The Scottsburg High School sophomore was taken to the Clark County Juvenile Detention Facility and is expected to be charged with felony intimidation.

Scott County District 2 Superintendent Marc Slaton said within 30 minutes of the text threat, SROs and police had interviewed students and cleared the building. Within two hours, they’d identified it as a hoax.

Slaton said they moved quickly because “we take student and staff safety very seriously and any and all threats are treated seriously.”

It’s a sentiment many in the community appreciate.

I think you have to take it very seriously these days," Houchen said. “You know, mental health of everyone has changed quite a bit and you can’t take that chance that somebody’s serious or not, especially with the kids.”

Police said any threats made, real or fake, can no longer afford to go uninvestigated, ignored or unpunished.

“Kids really need to think about this,” Huls said. “You know, don’t make a mistake or decision that could really alter or change your life.”

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