Juvenile arrested in school threat incident

November 6, 2017

School SignA Lewis County juvenile has been arrested in connection with a threat against Lewis County High School posted to social media on Sunday night.

Sheriff Johnny Bivens said the arrest was made Monday night following an investigation that lasted nearly 24 hours.

Bivens said the suspect is not the student whose name was associated with the threat.

“The juvenile that is in custody has said they created a fictitious Snapchat account and posted the threat under the name of a student at Lewis County High School,” Bivens said.

School and law enforcement officials began the investigation into a possible threat to Lewis County High School following a post on Snapchat, a social media site, Sunday evening.

The post was made in the name of a student at the high school although it was determined the post was made by another person using the student’s name to create a fictitious account, Bivens said.

Bivens said information about the Snapchat post began circulating widely shortly after 9:00 p.m. Sunday, resulting in concern from students and parents.

Snapchat is an Android and iOS application with a primary concept that any pictures, videos or messages posted are only available for a short time before they become inaccessible.

Screen captures may be taken of the messages, photos or videos, however. A screen capture of the threat is what was circulated on various social media platforms Sunday night.

Bivens said he contacted officials with Snapchat and seized devices early Monday as the investigation into the matter progressed.

Bivens said Monday afternoon he had eliminated suspects and was confident the posted threat was without merit.

Lewis County High School Principal Jack Lykins said he received news of the posted threat about the same time as Bivens.

“We are proud of the effort Sheriff Bivens has put in on this matter since Sunday night after learning about this incident,” said Lewis County Schools Superintendent Jamie Weddington.

Bivens said the account from which the threat was posted was created Sunday and added he believes the bogus account was established with the sole purpose of posting a threat.

“It is unbelievably simple to create a social media account with unverified fictitious information,” Bivens said. “Through our investigation we have eliminated possible suspects and identified other persons of interest.”

Lewis County students had the day scheduled off Monday for a staff only workday. Classes will resume Tuesday morning as scheduled, Weddington said.

Bivens said the investigation into the matter is ongoing and declined to release further information about the suspect that is in custody.

Bivens urges students and parents to report any possible threats to school officials and law enforcement so appropriate steps may be taken to identify any possible potential threats and treat them accordingly.

Bivens also asks that anyone having information concerning Sunday’s incident to contact him directly at 606-796-2912.

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