By Jeff Lehr
GRANBY, Mo. —
Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 50-year-old man Thursday for allegedly making threats on Facebook to cause “a blood bath” at East Newton High School.
The Newton County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at the home of Daniel L. Reed in Granby, seized three computers and arrested him on suspicion of making terroristic threats.
Sheriff Ken Copeland said Reed is believed to have issued the threat under the online guise of a 14-year-old boy named “Noah Ambercrombe.”
Law enforcement was alerted when teenagers informed a Newton County juvenile officer of the Facebook posting on Monday, the sheriff said. Copeland said “Noah” specifically threatened to cause “a blood bath” at East Newton High School.
East Newton students’ first day of school was Thursday. The sheriff said school authorities were notified of the threat early in the week. Additional officers were posted Thursday at all the district’s schools as an extra precautionary measure, he said.
“It’s important for parents to know their kids were never in danger,” Copeland said. “We never did think there was a 14-year-old student who was going to show up at school and harm others.”
The sheriff said deputies determined early on that no student named “Noah Ambercrombe” was enrolled at any school in the area. Investigators’ suspicions fell on Reed because the “boy” on Facebook claimed that the reason he wanted to harm others at the school concerned how his friend “Daniel” was being treated.
Copeland said Reed was arrested Aug. 5 in a probe of child sexual abuse involving a 14-year-old boy from the Granby area. Court records show that Reed was charged with second-degree child molestation for alleged contact with the teen.
“So we had every reason to believe Daniel Reed was in fact the one on Facebook posing as the boy and making terroristic threats,” the sheriff said.
He said investigators with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force reportedly traced the Facebook account to Reed, and the search warrant was obtained.
A probable-cause affidavit filed in the sexual-abuse case states that Reed met his alleged teenage victim in a park this summer and told the boy that he wanted to be “casual” with him. The boy told investigators that he did not know what that meant, but that they exchanged cellphone numbers and began texting each other.
The affidavit says the boy alleged that Reed picked him up one day and performed a sexual act with him. The matter came to the attention of law enforcement when Reed allegedly parked down the road from the boy’s house in the early morning hours July 26 and walked up to meet him outside his home. The affidavit states that an adult witnessed the rendezvous and confronted Reed about his presence on the property.
DANIEL REED remained in custody Thursday night at the Newton County Jail in Neosho. Charges are expected to be filed today in the school threat, authorities said.