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Licking County Sheriff Thorpe: Threatening Letter at Utica Mentioned Interracial Couples

By Timothy Perry

September 17, 2015 - 6:00 PM

UTICA - In a press conference today, Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp gave more information on the threatening letter sent to the North Fork School District.

While he declined to discuss the specifics of what the letter writer threatened to do, Thorp stated that the letter threatened violence toward "interracial couples" at "the homecoming events".

Thorpe said he believes two copies of the letter were delivered early this week through the United States Postal Service, one to the high school on Monday and one to the administrative office on Tuesday. The letter was one page.

According to Thorp, this threat is being treated as a possible hate crime by federal authorities. He stated that when authorities determine who sent the letters, "We would talk to our prosecutor, we may even talk to a federal prosecutor as well... someone would go to jail".

When asked if he had a message to district parents and communiy members, he stated that "in order to get back to normal, you've gotta be normal". He does not want people to think they must live in fear. "At the same time, be aware that there has been a threat and talk to your kids".

The Licking County Sheriff's office has taken the lead on the threat case because they have many more resources than the Utica Police Department.

The school district had previously rescheduled, then cancelled its weekend homecoming varsity and junior varsity football games against Lakewood and rescheduled all additional homecoming-related activities, including a dance and bonfire.

All actions taken were in response to a threatening letter mailed to the district, which prompted the district to contact the police and later, the FBI.

When asked about the school district's decision to cancel classes tomorrow, Thorp replied with, “I would not second guess them for their decision” “They made their decision based on… making sure their students were safe”.

Yesterday, the Utica Volunteer Fire Department cancelled the town's popular homecoming festival and parade in response to the threat.

Utica Police Chief Cliff Bigler stated yesterday that the department is closer than it was previously to catching the culprit.
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