A teenager is in police custody in Wisconsin after a threatening message sent on Snapchat shutdown one Steuben County school district on Thursday.
Steuben County Undersheriff John McNelis released this statement Thursday morning:
The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a Snapchat threat received by a Wayland-Cohocton student last evening. It contains a photograph of a firearm, with the caption “Don’t come to school tomorrow”. The photo appears to be generic in nature and does not contain any information specific to the Wayland-Cohocton School District. The student who received the Snapchat indicates that this was a random friend request, and they do not know this sender. We are working through our regional and state intelligence centers to identify the photo in order to see if this is a recycled threat. Our Criminal Investigations Unit is working with Snapchat in an attempt to identify the sender of the photograph. Preliminary investigation is suggesting that the sender account is located in the mid-west United States, and the account holder has no verifiable link to Steuben County at this time.”
Late Thursday morning Sheriff Jim Allard updated the investigation.
“On November 1st, at about 10:20 pm, a social media message was reported to the Sheriff’s Office in which a photo depicted what appears to be a firearm, with the caption “Don’t come to school tomorrow”. This message was shared by persons in the Wayland-Cohocton School District, causing security concerns and alarm, and the temporary closing of the school. Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Investigators worked through the night to track down the origin of this message. It is now confirmed that this message originated in Wisconsin, with a similar sharing and response within the local school district there. The originator of the message is currently in police custody in Wisconsin. Due to the age of the person originating the message, no name will be provided. There appears to be no direct association between this person and anyone in the Wayland-Cohocton School District outside of social media. No direct threat was made here, nor was there any overt attempt at violence conducted here.
The Sheriff’s Office urges all parents to communicate the dangers of accepting social media friend requests from unknown persons to their children. They also recommend that parents remain involved in their children’s social media accounts and report any suspicious activity to their local law enforcement.
Sheriff Allard thanks the Monroe Crime Analysis Center, Snap Inc., the Woodruff Wisconsin Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in this investigation.