Electronic Clues Lead to School Threat Suspect
After a weeklong series of threats made against students and staff, the South Burlington School District has found relief – and a suspect has been arrested.
The South Burlington School District, located in Vermont, had been dealing with death threats for over a week. Classes were cancelled and students, parents and staff members were on edge, wondering if there would ever be an end to these threats.
After the FBI began investigating the threats, an investigator quickly found a cyber trail to follow. Three days later, they arrested Josiah Leach, an 18-year-old student at South Burlington High School.
The investigator said Josiah Leach’s login credentials were used to setup a phone number through a service called TextNow. Quickly after that, someone used a VPN to access a Microsoft Outlook email account to send 6 emails that threated to kill students at the high school.
A new Facebook account is created from the same IP address and investigators noticed that one email account was created while Leach was signed in to Outlook and using a student laptop at the high school. Police receive a threat from the new Facebook account, and a secretary from the high school received a threat via phone from the TextNow account that was created that morning.
It didn’t take long for the FBI to figure out who the suspect was. School District Superintendent said that there is something to be learned here for anyone who’s thinking about making these threats against a school. “You will be found,” he said. No matter how tech savvy you think you are, a cybercrime team will find your cyber trail.
A timeline of events were tracked and recorded by the investigator, which traced every step the suspect made online.