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Missouri teen allegedly planned to kill classmates

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | 6:07 p.m. CST

PUXICO — The mother of a southeast Missouri teenager, who authorities say threatened to kill 29 classmates, knew her daughter had a list of people she wanted to harm but didn't believe the girl could access any weapons, a Stoddard County juvenile authority said.

Mike Davis, who heads up the Stoddard County Juvenile Office, said the young woman, who was arrested Feb. 11, allegedly posted a photo of herself holding a high-powered rifle on a Facebook page and had planned to solicit help from other students for her attack.

Davis said the girl, whose name and age have not been disclosed because she is a juvenile, allegedly planned to kill her classmates in the Puxico School District on her birthday in March. She was not previously known to juvenile authorities.

The girl has been charged with "communicating a threat to cause an incident condition involving a danger to life," according to an e-mailed statement from Davis' office.

It was not immediately clear what punishment the teenager might face.

She was taken to a hospital where she is undergoing a mental health assessment to determine whether she is a threat to herself or others.

A call to her attorneys was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Davis said the girl allegedly planned to recruit other students to help her by having them activate a fire alarm while she waited on the school roof to shoot her targets as they filed out of the building. No other students are suspects in the case.

The parent of another student informed school administrators about the plot. They began their own investigation before contacting juvenile authorities.

Puxico Schools Superintendent Kyle Dare declined to comment.

The teenager was not armed when authorities arrested her, but she did have access to weapons, Davis said. "Her parents have lots of weapons."

He said the girl's mother was aware her daughter had a list of students and that she planned to do them harm.

"But the mother didn't feel it was viable," he said. "She believed the child did not have access to weapons."

Authorities are looking into whether they can glean any evidence from Facebook or other online sources, said Rance Butler, assistant prosecuting attorney for Stoddard County. He said he is unaware of any other student's involvement.

He said statements and a Facebook photo indicate she had access to weapons. "When you combine the picture with the statements, they're something you have to take seriously," he said.

As for the parents, he said the case is still under investigation.

He added that not being fully in control of a child is different from being criminally responsible for that person's behavior.

"Most parents don't want to believe their child is capable of doing something bad," he said.


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