Two Thurston County students arrested for bomb threats at schools


Two 13-year-old female students, including one from the Yelm Community Schools district, were arrested on Tuesday, Feb. 20, after several schools received voicemails suggesting a bomb threat.

A school resource officer with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office was notified by Olympic View Elementary School in Lacey of a voicemail that suggested a bomb threat was scheduled for the upcoming Tuesday, according to a TCSO press release. After an investigation was initiated, TCSO found that the Yelm Police Department had also encountered a similar bomb threat directed at Mill Pond Elementary School on Monday, Feb. 19. No real threats were found.

According to TCSO Lt. Mike Brooks, one juvenile is from YCS while the other is from North Thurston Public Schools. They used an app called TextNow, a free calling and texting app, to send more than 600 hoax messages Monday, Feb. 19, according to Brooks and YCS Superintendent Chris Woods. Law enforcement learned that they also called Yelm Extension School, Ridgeline Middle School and Rochester Middle School with similar threats.

The juveniles declined to speak with law enforcement, and the case was forwarded to the prosecutor’s office, per the release. Woods said during the YCS school board meeting on Thursday, Feb. 22, that the suspects appeared before a judge on Wednesday, Feb. 21, and are set to be arraigned on Friday, March 1.

“It was an all-day affair. By 5:30 p.m., we were sending out a message to all staff and families to notify them that not only was there a threat, but police had identified the two students, detained them and determined that it was not an actual threat,” Woods said at the board meeting. “It’s not funny, and if you do it, you’re going to get caught.”

This is the second time in the 2023-24 school year that YCS has dealt with hoax bomb threats, as detectives traced voicemails sent to Yelm High School in November to a juvenile in New York. There was no real threat in this incident.