Turns out a 16-year-old student who wrote threatening messages in several Payson High School restrooms thought it was all a joke.
Police didn’t think so, and arrested the teen Tuesday night, charging her with interfering with an educational facility, aggravated criminal damage and nine counts of threatening and intimidating behavior for the nine names she wrote on the walls, said Payson Police Chief Don Engler.
The arrest came after police sent handwriting samples to a Department of Public Safety lab that confirmed who wrote the messages.
The first threatening messages appeared Sept. 10 in two girls’ restrooms.
One message was printed in purple ink in a bathroom on the south side of the administration building. By the time police arrived to collect evidence from the stall “most of the writing was gone because the school personnel had a maintenance person come in and clean off the writing,” according to a police report.
The other bathroom, located in B building, had a message stating, “I’m going to bring a gun to school and I’m going to kill (followed by seven girls’ names).”
Police interviewed the girls listed and a person of interest was interviewed later in the day.
On Sept. 21, a third threatening message appeared in another bathroom.
For the next three days, Payson Police Det. Michael McAnerney further interviewed students including a person of interest, officials said.
Police sent handwriting samples from the teen to the lab, which confirmed that they matched the written threats.
On Tuesday, McAnerney interviewed the teen and she confessed to writing the threats.
Engler said the teen had many opportunities to come forward before the lab results.
In early October, another teen was arrested for writing similar messages, this time in the boys’ bathroom.
The 15-year-old male was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, interfering with the function of a school and aggravated criminal damage.