The search for an author to a series of threatening notes found at Duxbury High School has now gone beyond town borders and involves the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Secret Service. The search for an author to a series of threatening notes found at Duxbury High School has now gone beyond town borders and involves the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Secret Service.

This was just some of the new information delivered to freshmen parents who gathered Thursday night at the school to hear about the status of the investigation into who is threatening their children.

To date, three notes have been found at the school since January that have promised unspecified harm and in some cases death to a list of 25 freshmen students.  Because of the impact on this class, DHS Principal John McCarthy held a forum along with local law enforcement to update parents on the ongoing investigation and answer their questions.{sidebar id=4}

"We’re looking at grade nine because [these] students have been impacted the most by this recent round of threats," said McCarthy.  "[We’re also hoping] to solicit your help.  We believe the solution to find who is responsible lies within the freshmen class.  This doesn’t mean a [freshman] is writing the notes, but they may know who is."

McCarthy then showed parents the two notes found in January and one found on March 10 that were part of the recent threats.  All three notes have been discovered in bathrooms at DHS on Wednesdays.  These three notes are not, however, related to a pair found last fall, said officials.

Both McCarthy and police asked the Clipper not to re-print the exact language in the notes due the continuing investigation.

Regarding the first note found on January 7 that made a veiled threat to specific students, McCarthy admitted that both he and police put out a message trying to downplay the incident as a peer issue because "we didn’t know what we had."  A week later, a second note was found that promised death to another list of students in the freshmen class and caused an increased police presence and lockdown at the school.

The month of February was quiet, said McCarthy, and the investigation into the notes’ author or authors was "going nowhere."  Then, on March 10, a third note was found that also promised death to a list of students, while some of the names given had changed.

This note, of which the Clipper reprinted segments last week, also included what police and school officials consider the signature "TWC."  The note also alluded to the fact that the author could access a weapon to bring to school.

McCarthy explained the process of the continued lockdown at the school, from metal detectors and bag searches to a no backpack rule until further notice.

"You may believe we are playing into the hands of this individual or individuals, but we can’t overlook anything," said McCarthy.  "Of primary importance to all of us is the safety of your children."

He then outlined further steps taken by the schools and police, from conducting over 100 interviews with students regarding the notes to submitting handwriting samples of student work to the Plymouth County Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) for analysis.

McCarthy also outlined future steps including speaking with eighth graders and bus drivers to get more information as well as participating in a threat assessment seminar in Washington D.C. held by the Secret Service this spring at no cost to the school department.

Police Chief Mark DeLuca also spoke at Thursday’s forum, telling parents that he has never seen anything like this in his 24 years in law enforcement, but that his department is dedicated to resolving the issue and keeping students safe.

DeLuca also mentioned that in addition to writing samples sent to BCI, they had also been sent to the Secret Service and the FBI is working on producing a profile of the author for the town.

"We think the person involved in this is in need of our help ñ both legally and mentally," he said.

DeLuca also introduced BCI Director Robert Foley who has years of experience with fingerprints and handwriting analysis, who told parents that they are not alone in this, noting several area towns with similar incidents.

He said that in reading students’ works, he has seen that they all have problems ranging from their love lives to peer relations at school.  These particular threats, however, present bigger problems and he echoed DeLuca’s call to get those involved some help.

Parents at the forum also got the opportunity to ask questions, which ranged from whether computers were involved and how to check their child’s usage to whether police wanted them to fingerprint their kids.

DeLuca said that any help they can provide would be appreciated and that of the 25 students listed in the three notes, all but four have been fingerprinted with two of them "not cooperating."  He also added that police have seized the computer of one of the students listed in the notes.

McCarthy said that it was his belief he spoke to the person responsible during assemblies with each class held last week with DeLuca and urged that person to come forward to get help.

Parents attending Thursday’s session said that it was helpful and supported the efforts of police and school officials.{sidebar id=4}

"I think they are doing a great job, doing everything they can do and it will hopefully have an effect," said Bob Bostrom.  "They stayed and answered every question parents had."

Parent Jane McGuirk agreed and said that officials are in a difficult situation with choosing what details to release, but she felt enough information was reaching parents and security measures were appropriate.

"It’s a tough thing for the faculty, who don’t go into education [to deal with] this and tough on all of the students here," she said.