PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (AP) — A 12-year-old girl is accused of “maliciously” impersonating a fellow student by creating fake Instagram and email accounts to threaten students and staff at their South Florida charter school, police said.
The child then sent threats to herself and others at the school and “intentionally lied to law enforcement” to frame a 13-year-old girl, Pembroke Pines police said in a news release sent Thursday.
The older girl was arrested after the Nov. 19 threats at Renaissance Charter School, but has since been exonerated of all charges, police said.
Charges against the 12-year-old girl, meanwhile, have been presented to the Broward State Attorney’s Office, police said.
“Police officers confirmed that the actual suspect maliciously impersonated another student, created email and Instagram accounts to send herself as well as other students threatening messages and intentionally lied to law enforcement and school staff to frame another person,” police Capt. Adam Feiner said in the release.
When the 13-year-old was arrested in November, her mother chose to “exercise their rights and did not cooperate with investigators,” Feiner said, and investigators were not able to examine the child’s digital device at the time. But in December, the mother shared information that prompted authorities to issue a subpoena for the IP addresses associated with the threat, leading to evidence implicating the younger girl, police said.
Feiner said it is “inappropriate” to say the 13-year-old was wrongfully arrested, because investigators and prosecutors took action based on “all the available information known at the time.”
Once they had more information, investigators took “immediate and swift action,” charging the younger girl with crimes including felony written threats to kill or do bodily harm, falsifying a police report, disrupting an educational institution and criminally using personal information, police said.