A 13-year-old girl is suspected of threatening to kill the entire town of Splendora, Texas in messages posted to a fake Facebook account. As of Monday, the NY Daily News reported, the 13-year-old girl had been charged with a third-degree felony for alleged online death threats and was awaiting a court-ordered mental evaluation while being held in custody at the Juvenile Justice Center in Conroe.
Several threats to the Houston-area suburb had been posted under a fake persona, Houston Chronicle reported, that of a 14-year-old Hollister model named "Melissa Johnson." The profile included pictures of another girl. Among the messages released by the district attorneys’ office was this one: "I'm going to kill everybody in Splendora on July 13th.” Threats were also made to and against Cristian Beasley, 12, a classmate who had been fighting leukemia. Allegedly, the girl sent messages directly to him saying “[you] should have died” while also posting messages for his friends: “Go die with Cristian.”
According to Click2Houston, news of the threats to Splendora and the bullying of Cristian reached the ears of law enforcement officials who responded by contacting Facebook. At first, Facebook reportedly refused to reveal the true name of the "Melissa Johnson" account holder, claiming the messages did not constitute an urgent threat. "We promptly review and respond to all emergency requests,” Facebook spokesperson Debbie Frost told Houston Chronicle in an email statement. “In this case, we reviewed the matter and asked the police to send us legal process or a court order for the requested information."
At a loss, police officials issued a citywide alert. Eventually, the social media company complied with the requests of the cyber crime division. Following the lead provided by Facebook, police officers tracked the girl to the home of a family member in Harris County, where she attends school. The police seized the 13-year-old's computers and electronic devices, yet they have not discovered any weapons in her possession.
"There was no indication that she was actually making any preparations to carry out those threats," Bill Pattillo, the girl's attorney, told Houston Chronicle. Pattillo described his client as a good student, the Daily Mail reported, with no history of drug use or criminal activity. She is someone who comes from a loving family.
"Kids are gonna be kids," Constable Kenneth Hayden told an ABC affiliate station. "They're going to make mistakes. This is a very serious mistake, and we're hoping this person is gonna learn from this and be able to move on with her life."