Police: School employee threatened to blow up school because she was upset with co-workers
MIAMI TOWNSHIP, CLERMONT COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - A Milford school district employee accused of making bomb threats against a school has confessed to the crime and said she did it because she was upset with co-workers, police announced in a press conference Tuesday.
Katherine Deel, 24, is held at the Clermont County Jail on charges of inducing panic and obstructing official business.
She pleaded not guilty during her first court appearance Tuesday.
Authorities say the extended-day program employee wrote and sent letters to a school and the police department on Thursday.
The incident prompted extra police presence and "resulted in a lot of chaos" Friday morning at Milford schools, said Assistant Police Chief Miami Township Police Chief Mike Mills said.
Police Chief Sue Madsen reached out to other agencies for assistance and organized a total of 9 canine units to come in and sweep all the district's school buildings for potential explosive devices.
No threats were found.
"She confessed to it. We had a lot of things leading us to believe she did it before she did confess to it," Mills said.
"According to her, she was upset with co-workers, etc., but no real reason to explain why you would write notes about a school being blown up and putting them in the mail and taking a lot of steps to do so."
Police take these sort of threats seriously and pursue any and all suspects, he said.
"Anytime there;'s a threat to the schools, to our most vulnerable citizens, which are our youth, a lot of policemen have children in these schools, so we take this very seriously.
"There's 6,500 students at these various elementary schools, high schools, along with 700 or 800 staff. There's a lot at stake and we take it very seriously.
"We take it so seriously that a lot of people were here at the police department til 11 p.m. or (midnight) the night before. We the policemen at every school watching the schools.
"Around 5 a.m. we swept all the schools with K-9s and police personnel. We put a lot of work into this just to assure everyone that the students would be safe.
"She unnerved a lot of people. I would say probably up around 50,000 or so people, that's just in Miami Township. There's other surrounding areas that their kids go here to Milford schools. There are a lot of people unnerved by these comments."
Police said they took in a lot of tips and leads. By Monday afternoon, they were "pretty confident" who was responsible for the threats.
"She did confess to it. We had a lot of things leading us to believe she did it before we did take that confession from her....we found her."
School officials said Deel had and passed background checks required before she was hired in 2014. She had no serious prior arrests, Mills said.
"Anybody that would like to make a threat like this, we are going to do everything in our power to find them," he said.
Deel is on unpaid leave and is banned from all school campuses while the district work through the process of firing her, Superintendent Nancy House said Tuesday.
The school board is expected to vote to terminate her at their next meeting, on Sept. 21.
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