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a pleasant start to the morning

Someone just threatened my daughter's life. It was in an instant message - this is someone local she knows and sees, not an anonymous person on the internet. The message he sent was vicious and frightening and obviously was not some kind of joke. There is a background to this story that I'm not going to share, but suffice it to say that my daughter did nothing that would deserve this kind of response from him, and the kid has obvious anger management issues. Obviously, Nat will never see this kid again. Thankfully, he lives in another town and she doesn't go to school with him. I'm just finding out more about him now - he's apparently the son of someone Nat's father works with, so I'm putting in a call to him right now. So, question: does a saved instant message qualify as evidence? Should I call the police on a 14 year old boy whose parents have probably glossed over his rage issues before? I really don't believe he's going to try to kill her, he's just a kid with issues, but he has frightened my daughter beyond reason and that alone makes me want make him pay for his behavior in some way. Ok, venting done. Waiting for phone call from ex. Update: I am calling the cops. In fact, I've been trying to call the precinct for the last 45 minutes. I keep getting a busy signal. I also spoke to my ex (who knows the kid's father) and he concurs about calling the police. Poor Nat called from school, she's still very shaken up by this. I'm making her stick the day out, though. No point in coming home, where she will be alone. I shall keep you all posted on developments. Thanks to everyone for the advice/support. Update again: Home now. The precinct told me to pick Nat up from school, go home and call 911 and they'll send a car over. Apparently, they take this stuff very seriously. Waiting on cops. now.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference a pleasant start to the morning:

» Real-life drama over at ASV from The Shape of Days
Michele Catalano of A Small Big Victory is going through an honest-to-God drama this morning involving death threats and calls to the police. Go read her story and offer your moral support. I have received some [Read More]

» Stupid Kid Tricks from The Indepundit
A KID AT SCHOOL makes a death threat against Michele Catalano's daughter, Natalie. Someone just threatened my daughter's life. It was in an instant message - this is someone local she knows and sees, not an anonymous person on the... [Read More]

» Days of Sick from the scrawl
Today I was out sick from work. No, I wasn't carrying a bucket to vomit in. No, I wasn't so googly headed on drugs that I couldn't be trusted to drive. It was just a culmination of my allergies forcing... [Read More]

» Death Threat Situation from Tempus Fugit | TxFx.net
I'm happy to report that the situation regarding the death threats received by Michelle's daughter is being resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.... [Read More]


If you say " He's just a kid " now, he won't get the attention to his problem until he ( maybe ) does something later. Things don't just go away on their own.

Save the message, get screen captures, do whatever you can to save the information. Since it happened locally, you can call the police and they can take it from there.

It absolutely does qualify as evidence. Without using an expert to lay a foundation for the admission of the instant message, your daughter could probably verify the identify of the writer through his screen name and the content of the conversaion. However, there's no reason to think a formal complaint, if the threat was that bad, would have to come to trial.
He should be dealt with now before he gets worse.

Yes, inform the police.

Yee-ow. Call the police. I would say the IM is definietly evidence.

Consensus is right: call the authorities and go from there. Escalate this to feds since internet involved? Let's see... Homeland Security? This certainly sounds like terrorist tactics to me. A lot more important, IMO, than investigating art students taking pictures of landmarks or Ridge's Retards sniffing feet and confiscating nail clippers at airports...

Maybe such escalation isn't necessary, but the biggest hammer you can find will be ALMOST big enough to squash this bug hard enough.

When the teenager across the street threatened to shoot my wife a few years ago, we called the police. We didn't press charges, but having an official record of the threat would be very useful in the case of further problems.

We never had any other problems with her.

Michele, I'd bet a paycheck IM's would count as evidence. IIRC, IM's have been used as evidence in the Enron trials.

Yeah, save the IM, let the cops know; then mail him a ziploc bag of poop. I'm talking a big bag too, like the 1 gallon freezer bag. Never underestimate the power of poo. Once that kid sees what he got in the mail, he'll understand that me messed with the wrong mamajama.

Yes, you can use it as evidence. Definetely go the police about it...even if all they do is a stern tick-off it might just scare the numbnut straight.

Don't discount the rage and hatred against Bush. He may be just imitating what he hears at home.

Don't discount the rage and hatred against Bush. He may be just imitating what he hears at home.

Call the police NOW. The kid will be locked up by lunchtime.

IM counts as evidence. Nat might lose her computer for a bit, though.

save the messages and call the cops. Here's Joe's experience with this:

Uh - YES! Call the police. Threatening someone's life??? You might be right - he might not mean it. But what if you're wrong?? Are you willing to find out?

I'm a prosecutor - people call the police everyday over stuff like this. And, getting this boy into the juvenile justice system might be what he needs - he might get some therapy and help before he messes us his life or someone elses.

Don't worry about the evidence aspect of it. The odds of it ever getting to trial are slim. But I wouldn't let the police take your computer . . . .

Yes, michele. The others are right. Call the police. They will probably call him in or visit him for a little chat. if he's got a shred of conscience, he'll be scared s***less by the visit from the authorities and step back and stay back.

Threats via IM are no different, IMHO, from threats via telephone or some other means of delivery.

I pray this is just teen drama, but you may be saving someone else from this in the future.

If it were my daughter... I'd consider going to his house with a baseball bat and scaring the piss out of the little f***er, but after I'd calmed down, I'd get a screen cap, (hint, if it's on AIM, press F2 to show the timestamp of the message), and call the police.

Call the police, save all evidence and get as much information as possible about this kid, but the most important thing, in my opinon, is to let your daughter know that you're doing these things.

Unfortunately, we all have to learn how to deal with crazy people at some point in time. Confronting the issue and learning the general process might make her less frightened.

I agree with the others. The saved IM should be evidence.
And I would call the police, better safe than sorry...I attached a link to a local story where you just never know what a 14-year-old is capable of!
I don't mean it to startle you, but you just never know...


OMG, he's 14, time to deal with those issues NOW, call the police and charge him to the fullest extent of the law and don't give it a second thought -OMG

SAved Ms are evidence. Chat logs have been used in court cases where the identity of the chatter could be verified via IP or something (available from the chat host). Just look at the pedophile cases tried and how those guys were caught on chat room stings.

I would report it to the police. Maybe then the prolem wil be addressed by the parents, or maybe by a judge.


What everyone else has said.

Yes, the IM qualifies as evidence. Yes, call the cops. Time to start a paper trail. Once a report is made, make sure to get the report number, be sure to follow up with the PD and get the name of the detective. Make sure this is forwarded to the DA-juvie division.

If the parents have been in denial about this kid, a juvie judge can get him evaluated and into appropriate therapy.

The thing is, he will now be under the perview of the courts. And this should wake up his parents, too.

I'm still bleary eyed this morning (just now sipping my first coffee)... but I'll talk to one of my juvie DDA's when I get to work just to confirm everything I've said and see if he has any more recommendations.

The IM counts as evidence. Contact the parents, then local law enforcement.

BTW, let me add.

If this goes into the juvie court system and the kid gets the appropriate therapy (and his parents along with him) and goes on to a productive future with no other incidents, his juvie records will be sealed. No record.

That is exactly why the juvenile court system came into existence.

It's unfortunate too many juveniles don't get into it soon enough and go onto committing serious enough crimes to be bumped into adult court.

Tuesday saw the arraignment of 3 16 y/o gangbangers in my court (adult) for shooting a 89 y/o man because he didn't have any money on him when they were trying to rob him ... which they later went to school and bragged about. I'm sure their parents had "no idea" what these kids were up to.

Several years ago, when my eldest was not yet a teen, an older local boy, whom my son did not even know, ambushed him and just beat the living snot out of him. A heating repairman broke it up before my son was too badly injured, but injured he was. We did not call the police; my wife and I went to see the parents directly. They agreed to compensate for my son's broken glasses and to pay for cleaning his cothes, which were bloodied.

Stupidly, I thought the whole thing was settled. Four months later the same boy doused a four-year-old with lighter fluid and set him afire. The child almost died and I think is still getting grafts and such. The older boy went into state custody.

Later in the year, my son and a friend were set upon by three girls (yes, girls) who were three and four years older; one was built like a sumo wrestler. She beat my son up, too, though not as badly as the older boy had. I called the police the same day on that, swore out a warrant and had her arrested. She was convicted at trial despite her lawyer (I prosecuted myself.)

I have never regretted for a microsecond calling the cops, and bitterly regret not doing so the first time.

Previous commenters were right - the kid threatening your daughter may not harm her, but he will harm someone.

BTW, my son was very slight as a child and young teen, but once he turned 15 he really started to add bulk. Now he is a US Marine and has no such fears anymore.

I see you're calling the cops on him. Good! Even if you don't press charges, it'll be enough to get a restraining order.

Just because they're kids, doesn't mean they aren't dangerous. I hate to bring up Columbine, but they wer "just kids" too.

Late to this one, but I'm glad you called the police. Best of luck, michele.

Rev. Donald

Please pass on to your son my heartfelt thanks for his service.

Semper Fi

Very late ... yes, they're evidence, and yes, you should call the cops. If all that happens is that he gets a lecture and never does it again, that's fine. If he does do it again, he won't be able to claim that that was his first time and the system will really fall on him.

Give your kids lots of extra hugs for us.

My problems seem rather trivial to someone threatening the life of my child. I agree about the cops though. 5-0 can always make a difference even if it's just so the kid knows you're taking it seriously.

Sure, save as much of the conversation as you can as evidence. You - or the police - may need to follow-up with the ISP or the IM provider to better identify the offensive party, though? Beware that screen names are pseudonyms, and are spoofable, and are therefore contestable without something else to back them up (IP addresses that can be traced to the home, for example).

But the text certainly qualifies as harassment and a threat, and enough probable cause to set things in motion.

You can involve the IM provider (and probably the ISP too) yourself - this kind of thing obviously breaks Terms and Conditions. Not saying that kicking the guy off of his IM is sufficient here, saying that this is a valid way to better identity him.

Call the FBI. It's a Federal Offense to threaten someone's life across phone lines, right? And even if the two parties are in the same state, the transmission probably leaves the state at some point.......making it a federal matter. That's what I would do. Also, the FBI might be interested in starting a file on this "kid".

Contact his school, too. Many codes of Conducts require that the be expelled for such a threat.

Even though he does not attend the same school, he school needs to be put on notice.

Good Luck. I know, as a parent, its difficult not to approach that child and give him the spanking his parents never did.

Not meaning to pig pile here, but by all means call the cops and insist they follow through. Harris and Kelbold (sp) were just kids, too, until they shot up Columbine. This kid could be harmless, but you can't afford to take the chance.

The week that I brought my newborn daughter home from the hospital, my husband aquired a stalker (paraniod-schizophrenic who thought he was having an affair with his wife). After the phone calls and slashed tires, we changed numbers and got surveilance equipment. More phone calls, second set of slashed tires and we had a video tape. We prosecuted. Never regretted it because then he got medication and help. Of course, then we moved out of the state......

The 14-year-old you don't help now, may grow up to be the gut on "America's Most Wanted" later.
You wil NEVER regret doing something to protect your children.

I don't really have anything to add, but you're in my thoughts. You're a great mom.

Yes, you take it VERY seriously! My parents didn't and I almost lost my life at 16. I am SO glad you're getting the police involved. Thanks for keeping everyone updated!

Saw the update. You did the right thing.

Annoying personal anecdote (sorry): My late father was a high school teacher, and there was a creepy kid who was always talking smack. He ended up bringing a shotgun to school one day. He was disarmed, but revealed he planned to shoot my dad and two other teachers.

It's hard to contemplate the potential actions of those who are impossible to understand, but you have to assume the worst and deal with it accordingly.

Man. Today you should be basking in the glory of being name-checked in Steyn's column! Too bad something else came along to harsh the buzz, but yes, you're doing the right thing.

Easycure, while you're correct that because the transmission probably leaves the state to go through the IM provider, this is likely a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. 875©, the local police will bring in the FBI when and if they think it's necessary; otherwise, I don't mean to sound callous, but the Bureau is kind of busy at the moment.

Stupid autoformat: that's supposed to be subsection "c," not the copyright symbol. ;-)

Definitely call the police, and show them the print out of the IM...they do act upon these. I know this because my own daughter did some stupid threatening (not a death threat, though), and it was brought to my attention...and she lost her AOL account after I found out.

Another thought.

My father is a school superintendent, so I have a little inside knowledge. When you pick up Nat, make sure that the principal knows WHY she's being pulled out of school. He can coordinate with the other kid's school and keep him under surveillance until the cops come and get him.

save a copy of the conversation. If not AOL may be able to from their servers. The scum bag kid needs to be stopped before he does do something bad.

I just got the chills reading this. Dude, What the FUCK is wrong with people anymore? Seriously. I hope everything works out.

I advise you get and train yourself with a firearm. I would be SOOOOOOO on top of this. If I knew who it was, I'd be on his doorstep with a police officer. I would sue the family, I would make such a ruckus they'd want to move to another state. You don't even so much as whisper a threat to my family without feeling the wrath of GOD!!!!

I'm so angry right now, I can hardly sit still. I feel like coming out there myself and doing what it takes to protect you.

UUUGHGHGHHFDF:OIEH{":OIRE(U{"#(_)UR{" !!! ! !!!!!!

I hope that by this time you have called the cops and that they are starting to take care of things.

Please be careful, and I hope this doesn't get any worse for you guys.

good God.

You've already heard helpful people with good advice. Hang in there.


You probably also want to get AOL involved. Send a complaint to their abuse contact (check the website), be as specific as possible, and mention the criminal charges being filed.