Bomb squad clears suspicious package found in Boone County Courthouse

Thursday, April 21, 2011 | 10:50 a.m. CDT; updated 3:06 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 21, 2011
Columbia Police Detective Corey Bowden retrieves a suspicious letter found inside the doors of the Boone County Courthouse from a bombsquad robot Thursday. A custodian notified her supervisor after she discovered the suspiciously heavy package at 4:30 a.m., said Detective Tom O'Sullivan of the Boone County Sheriff's Department.

COLUMBIA — The Mid-Missouri Bomb Squad cleared a suspicious package found inside the Boone County Courthouse front doors Thursday morning.

The package was a standard white letter envelope that contained multiple papers, said Detective Tom O'Sullivan of the Boone County Sheriff's Department. He said the letter was addressed to a circuit judge.


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"It was nothing of a threatening or inflammatory nature. It involved a case that the judge has with the individual who left the letter there," O'Sullivan said.

O'Sullivan said the envelope did not contain any explosive or incendiary materials but originally drew suspicion because of its weight and placement. The package was found under or in between the two front doors of the courthouse.

A custodian noticed the package at 4:30 a.m. Thursday and thought it was unusually heavy for a letter, O'Sullivan said. Later, it occurred to the custodian that the weight of the package was suspicious and she informed her supervisor, O'Sullivan said. He said the supervisor notified law enforcement shortly before 7 a.m.

By 8 a.m. yellow crime scene tape surrounded the courthouse. Sgt. Mike Lederle said Walnut Street was blocked off to pedestrian and vehicle traffic from Seventh Street to Ninth Street, and Ash Street was blocked off from Seventh Street to Eighth Street.

Columbia Police Department Detective Corey Bowden, wearing a green bomb suit, used a bomb robot to retrieve the package from the courthouse. Meanwhile, a black truck from the Mid-Missouri Bomb Squad Hazardous Device Unit sat on Seventh Street in front of the courthouse, and about six police cars could be seen up and down Seventh Street.

Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief James Weaver, who is on the bomb squad, said the bomb robot brought the package outside the building, where a portable x-ray device then cleared it.

About 9 a.m. Thursday, people were allowed back inside the courthouse, and the surrounding yellow tape was removed.

Mary Epping, assistant to the court administrator, said court began at about 9:20 a.m.

"Everything's going as scheduled, just a little delayed," she said.

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Graham Johnston April 21, 2011 | 11:59 a.m.

Just one photo? Really?

(Report Comment)
David Sautner April 21, 2011 | 12:07 p.m.

AHHHHH!!!!! Terrorists!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! AHHHHH!!!!! Help!!!

(Report Comment)
Shelley Powers April 21, 2011 | 12:41 p.m.

And it was a response to a civil case, because the person is representing him or herself and didn't know where to submit filings after hours.

This is not uncommon. Many court houses actually provide a facility where after hour legal filings can be dropped.

(Report Comment)
Gerald Shelnutt April 21, 2011 | 4:51 p.m.

What a bunch of whinie lily livered candy*sses we have become. Please some one tell me there was more than one white envelope involved.

(Report Comment)

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