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Call leads to lockdown

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Alexis Barker, NLJ News Editor

A disturbing phone call from an unnamed person led to the lockdown/lockout of Weston County School District No. 1 schools last Friday, according to information provided by both Superintendent Brad LaCroix and Newcastle Police Chief Derek Thompson.

LaCroix reported that the call was of a “concerning” nature and that, at the time of the call, the source was unknown.

“The call contained no specific threat to any child or staff member, but law enforcement and the school district quickly enacted emergency protocols out of an abundance of caution in the interest of safety,” LaCroix said in a message to families after the lockdown.

The schools were put into lockdown at 10:54 a.m. He noted that law enforcement, after investigating the source of the call, deemed that no credible threat or concern existed. All school buildings were released from lockdown around 12:30 p.m.

“Just before 11:00 a.m. on March 08, the school district received a phone call at the (Newcastle) elementary school from an individual stating he had just kidnapped a child,” Thompson told the News Letter Journal in an email. “He went on to claim he was making the child do other unthinkable acts that I don’t think you would want to say in the newspaper.”

Initially, he said, the caller stated that he was located a few blocks from the four-way stop at the intersection of U.S. Highways 85 and 16. After pinging the phone, however, the police determined that the call originated in Oregon.

“An officer from Oregon spoke with the individual and informed us this was not the first call of a similar nature the subject had made that day,” Thompson said. “The officer confirmed the subject was at home and no child had been harmed.”

According to Thompson, the situation was very stressful and disturbing for everyone involved but that, thankfully, no child was harmed.

“We are exploring criminal charges in this case,” he said.

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