An Elkins High School student allegedly involved in a bomb threat discovered at the high school last month is being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $25,000 cash-only bond.
The Elkins Police Department arrested and charged Amanda Marie Starliper, 18, of Montrose, with conspiracy to commit a terroristic act, a felony, because of the role she allegedly played in the March 20 incident that led to the evacuation of EHS.
According to the criminal complaint in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk's office, at about 8:03 a.m. March 20, the EPD received a call from Elkins High School personnel stating that they'd found a bomb threat directed at the school. The threat was reportedly written on a wall in the school and included a specific time of detonation, the complaint states.
EHS was evacuated and numerous area law enforcement officers combed the school grounds over a period of several hours, but found no bomb. The subsequent investigation led to the identification of a female juvenile suspect, investigating officer Lt. S.D. Richards with the EPD wrote in the complaint. While she was being interviewed, the female juvenile suspect identified two other people who she said were involved-one was another juvenile and the third was Starliper.
Both juvenile suspects gave written statements, signed by their parents/guardians, identifying Starliper "as the party who advised and coerced the juvenile suspect who wrote the message," Richards wrote in the complaint.
The initial juvenile suspect's statement alleges that Starliper "told her to write the bomb threat message and what to put into it," Richards wrote. "It also points out that they wanted a day off from school and this was a good way to do it."
"The resulting action," the officer noted, "caused great fear and economic hardship on the school board and the community."
EPD Chief Rob White said Wednesday that while one juvenile in the case had been charged, the second juvenile hadn't "as of yet."
White declined to comment further due to the sensitive nature of the case.
Terry George, interim superintendent of Randolph County Schools, thanked the EPD for its thorough and effective investigation.
"I am very thankful and appreciative of the EPD for their diligence in this investigation," George said. "We hope that the swiftness with which this matter was resolved will deter students from making such dangerous statements. Having to evacuate students and move students (due to a bomb threat) endangers their safety."
Magistrate George M. Riggleman set bond at $25,000 cash only, and Starliper remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as of presstime.
When asked what factors influenced his decision on the bond amount, Riggleman said, "To me, it's a serious offense. It caused a disruption to school and teachers.
"They had to call in first responders and law enforcement with dogs and everything else, which took protection away from everyone else in the county," Riggleman continued. "In this day of things that have been happening, you can't take these things lightly."
The penalty for a conviction of conspiracy to commit a terroristic act is confinement in the state penitentiary for one to five years or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.