Police: Closer to finding suspect in Utica HS threats

Utica High School

UTICA, Ohio (WCMH)– Police continue to investigate but say they are closer to catching whoever sent a threatening letter to the North Fork Local School District.

Now, the Utica Volunteer Fire Department has cancelled its annual fall festival as well.

Police Chief Cliff Bigler said the case may not be solved quickly.

“It’s going to take some time but we are closer today than the day we received the letter.”

Utica High School
Utica High School

Utica police say officers have increased patrols in the area and officers are working in the school.

“We are here for the comfort of the students, the comfort of the parents,” Bigler said. “This is something that has people in an uproar, and rightfully so.  We are here for extra security.”

Witnesses said that about half the students stayed away from the school Wednesday. Shanda Mowery kept her freshman daughter at home.

“It’s scary,” she said. “You never know what is going to happen, if it’s real or not. We decided to keep her home just to be safe, you never know.”

Student-teacher Nicole Kappeler said it was “upsetting” to know someone was targeting the school.

“We come to school and think we are safe, but (it’s) upsetting when someone disrupts our learning.”

Police said there was a closed door meeting with the school district to discuss and action plan. It is not clear where the Utica High School football game will be played. According to the school’s Twitter page, the homecoming dance remains postponed. Mowery said her daughter was looking forward to the dance.

“A lot of activities are happening (that) kids look forward to,” she said. “It’s sad because of a few bad people, everyone’s experience is ruined.”

The letter allegedly contained violent threats that targeted the football game against Lakewood Friday and the dance Saturday.

Police said police and FBI officials are talking with a few individuals, but are not releasing any other information at this time.

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