Teen charged by police with false reporting
OROVILLE – A 13-year-old Oroville High School student has been charged with false reporting after texting friends that she was being held against her will.
On Tuesday, March 26 the Oroville Police Department got a report that a student had texted friends that she was being chased by someone with a knife, according to Oroville Police Chief Todd Hill. The Police chief added that one of the students who received the text reported to a school staff member.
“At 1:29 p.m. a student reported receiving a text claiming that she was being chased by someone with a knife, the school went into lockdown,” said Chief Hill. “That was a very good call on the schools part. We needed time to figure out if the student was there or if something had taken place in the school.”
Chief Hill and Officer Orr responded to the high school and found out the student had claimed she had been chased, but not at the school.
“She sent another text message to her friend saying she had been taken from the school. So I was given the information that she knew she was in the Ellisforde area, but she didn’t know exactly where she was,” said the Police Chief.
Hill and Orr took Highway 97 south to look for the girl and the chief requested assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol, which sent several units to help at the school, as well as toward Ellisforde.
“While we were on our way to Ellisforde we got information that the girl had been seen walking on County Highway 7, north of the Ellisforde Bridge,” said Hill. “At that time I requested assistance from the Border Patrol to head back north on 7 to see if they could locate her,” Hill said.
“We located her about four miles south of Oroville on Highway 7,” said Hill. “The investigation revealed that the student was lying and had willingly left the school on her own at about 12:30 p.m.”
The juvenile was charged with false reporting and the case will be handed off to the Okanogan County Juvenile Prosecutor for review and to decide how to respond.. Hill said the girl was not at school on Wednesday and was at home.
“This incident caused a significant disruption to the community, to law enforcement and to the school. The Oroville Police Department invested a lot of time into the matter, about four hours and 15 minutes and that’s my basis for the charges.”
Chief Hill commended the school district and the U.S. Border Patrol for their help during the matter.
“It is hard when Jeff (Superintendent Hardesty) is the public information officer from the school and he wasn’t in town. There were lots of rumors flying around the community on Facebook and we just want to get the true information out there about what was happening,” said Hill.
See also Lockdown