A teen from Ohio has been arrested in connection to multiple threats that were called into Valparaiso High School over the past few weeks.
The Valparaiso Police Department released the following statement on its Facebook page:
“Over the last few weeks, the Valparaiso community has been alerted to potential threats within Valparaiso High School, with reports of possible violence called in on January 9, 17, and 26. The threats, communicated by phone, have interrupted school days by panicking our students, staff, and parents. Although it has been difficult to read about these events or receive communication from concerned children within the high school, the Valparaiso Police Department thanks the community for its support and continued cooperation. All protocols were followed in each incident. Multiple investigators have worked exhaustively to identify and locate a suspect. These investigations are tedious, filled with multiple layers of deception on the part of the violator, with details that take large amounts of time to analyze. Often, investigations of this nature can take months to lead to the identity of those responsible.
“As a new threat was being communicated today to several area school corporations, the VPD was hard at work, with the support of numerous local and federal authorities. The dedication and commitment have led to a 16-year-old male suspect from Ohio, being taken into custody in connection with these incidents in Valparaiso. The investigation remains ongoing and further information will be released when available.
“The Valparaiso Police Department is extremely proud of the effort and collaboration of all involved in the investigation. The VPD would like to specifically thank members of our Investigations Division, as the effort put forward these past few weeks has been remarkable. Further, the VPD would like to thank the United States Secret Service – Chicago Field Office, United States Secret Service – Forensic Services Division in Washington D.C., Federal Bureau of Investigations – Indianapolis Field Division, The Porter County Prosecutor’s Office, the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, Porter County 911 Central Communications Center, Valparaiso Fire Department, and Valparaiso Community Schools.”
Portage Police Department’s Public Information Office Lt. Rob Maynard released the following statement:
“A short time ago the Valparaiso Police Department announced that a sixteen-year-old male from Ohio has been taken into custody in relation to threats made to Valparaiso High School on January 9th, 17th, and 26th.Minutes after Portage Police officers were dispatched to the Portage High School this morning Valparaiso PD detectives were able to share some of their investigative findings with us. At this time, we strongly believe the person responsible for the threats directed to VHS is the same person who made threats toward PHS this morning. Despite having this information all safety policies and procedures were still followed in this incident out of an abundance of caution.“We wish to thank the PTS parents and Portage community for their patience and understanding throughout today’s event. We understand the anxiety a situation like this can cause. Many of us here at PPD are parents as well and have children attending Portage Township Schools. We must be consistent in our responses and follow the established protocols when dealing with threats to the safety of our students even if we have information that the threat may not be viable.“We must also thank the staff at Portage High School and the Portage Township School Transportation Department for their cooperation and dedication to the safety of the student body as we worked side by side to provide for the safe reunification of students to their families.“Our detectives will continue to diligently work to ensure that a full investigation is completed before bringing our own charges in this incident.”
The Town of Chesterton said on its Facebook page that “In addition to the unspecified threat made today against Valparaiso High School, threats were also made against the Portage and Wheeler high schools in Porter County; and against Hobart High School in Lake County. All four school districts implemented lockouts or other security protocols.
No threat was made against Chesterton High School.”