PHMS on alert after threats on Instagram

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Police make arrest in connection to PHMS threat

Pendleton - Pendleton Heights Middle School is on alert after a threat on the photo sharing social media site Instagram was posted yesterday.

South Madison Community School Corporation Superintendent Joe Buck said the school was notified by a concerned citizen on Tuesday evening, informing them of an Instagram account that threatened to kill PHMS students.

“We (administrators) immediately contacted the police department,” Buck said. “We take threats like this very seriously.”

The account Instagram account for THE_PHMS_KILLER was shut down yesterday evening after police began their investigation. In the bio area of the account, it said an anonymous killer would “kill PHMS students everyday… one by one. Will you be the next death? Who am I? Once I get to 25 followers I will start my killing spree.”

Buck said that while the school was only mentioned by the initials, police had still started an investigation into the account.

“There are numerous schools, including one in Baltimore, that have those initials,” Buck said. “But we’re taking it as a threat geared towards our middle school. We’re not taking anything for granted.”

He added that police were also contacting other schools with the same initials.

Buck said that because of the online threat, parents were notified via email of the situation and that there would be more of a police presence during the investigation.

“The police chief has coordinated an additional police presence at the middle school this morning,” Buck said. “We’ve also had support from county and state police.”

He said “things ran very smoothly” at PHMS this morning with no reported issues.

“Hopefully they can trace it and we can put this to bed soon,” Buck said. “Until then our School Resource Officers will be spending more time at the middle school until the investigation is complete.”

Calls placed to PHMS Principal Dan Joyce were not immediately returned.

In a quick update to the Pendleton Police Department Facebook page, Chief Farrer said that police and school officials are working together and will continue to keep tabs on the situation

“School Officials have worked closely with Law Enforcement to monitor the situation and provide for the safest atmosphere possible for our students,” Farrer said online. “Actions are being taken to hopefully provide for suspect information and possible charges.”

He asked that anyone with possible information that could lead to an arrest needs to contact the Pendleton Police Department or Madison County Sheriff's Department through dispatch at 765-642-0221.


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