GREAT FALLS — The Cascade County Sheriff's Office has released more information about last week's threat at the public school in Belt.
At 3:01 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6, the school received a call from a person who said that "another Sandy Hook" would be happening in a few minutes and then hung up.
School officials immediately called the county 911 Dispatch Center and implemented shelter-in-place procedures while Sheriff's deputies responded.
An alert detailing the situation was sent to parents from school officials and a follow-up Code Red message was sent to Belt residents from the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies were able to identify the suspect as a woman in her 30s who lives in Ravalli County.
The Sheriff's Office said in a news release on Monday, October 11:
- Female caller suffers from a serious brain disorder that causes extreme difficulty with cognitive functionality.
- In addition to her brain disorder, she suffers from Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder.
- Due to similar problems (stalking via phone/computer) over the last several years, all forms of communication (phone, computer, tablets) were taken from the female by her caretakers
- Last week, the female was diagnosed with Covid and was placed on quarantine. Due to this, she was allowed to have a tablet to keep her busy; for entertainment.
- Having the tablet gave her access to the news and she had been talking/worrying about school shootings almost non-stop during the quarantine with her care takers.
- She voiced that she was concerned for former teachers, specifically a teacher from Belt Public School.
- Unbeknownst to her caretakers, the tablet also gave her access to telephonic communication using the Text Now system.
- A current Belt teacher taught this woman 20 years earlier in Ravalli County but had since moved and is currently a teacher at the Belt School.
- Care takers told our investigators that when the female mentioned “Sandy Hook” during this phone conversation with Belt School, it was as a warning due to her worry, rather than a threat.
- Based on this incident, the care takers immediately took the tablet away from the female to keep her from contacting anyone further
The Belt teacher confirmed she taught the suspect more than 20 years earlier and has been dealing with the now adult female trying to contact her and her children via Facebook, telephone, etc. for several years.
A copy of the police report has been sent to the Ravalli County Attorney’s Office for review.
The name of the woman has not been released; the Cascade County Sheriff's Office says it is not immediately pursuing charges or an arrest warrant, given the complexity of the woman's mental condition(s), and the fact that she is not local nor is she capable of furthering any act of violence.
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