Residents help officials in Bay City school district terroristic threats case
Jan. 27, 2011 at 9:04 a.m.
Updated Jan. 26, 2011 at 7:27 p.m.
Dec. 28 - A threatening letter is mailed to Superintendent Keith Brown, Bay City school district. The letter outlined nine "rules." Failure to comply with rules would lead to random killing of students, the writer threatens.
Jan. 5 - Bay city students, faculty and residents receive threatening text message that says if the first rule is broken, then two girls each from the high school and junior high will die. The sender instructs those receiving the text to forward the letter.
Jan. 6 - Call made to a business saying a bomb was in Linnie Roberts Elementary School. Law enforcement and dogs trained to sniff out explosives sweep the campus. Nothing is found.
Jan. 8 - Call made to Matagorda County Medical Center saying a bomb was in the Bay City Junior High. The building was cleared and no explosives found.
Jan. 11 - Second threatening letter addressed to Superintendent Keith Brown is left in a mailbox at Riverside Park in Bay City.
Jan. 25 - Several businesses and homes contacted by caller stating kids will be hurt if the rules are not followed. Number was blocked
Jan. 25 - Paul Nolen May is arrested at his home in Bay City, charged with 12 counts of terroristic threats.
BAY CITY - With the help of people who received threatening phone calls at home, police were able to make an arrest in the on-going threats against the Bay City school district.
Substitute teacher Paul Nolen May, 41, of Bay City, was arrested Wednesday night at his home. He was charged with 12 counts of terroristic threats, a third-degree felony.
He was arrested as the result of an investigation into anonymous death threats made to Bay City school district students, including the superintendent's youngest daughter.
On Wednesday anonymous calls were made to several homes and businesses threatening to harm students if the caller's rules were not followed by Feb. 1.
The residents worked with the Bay City Police Department and the Bay City school district police department, Steven Reis, district attorney for Matagorda County.
"We are cautiously optimistic that we are making progress in this case and feel a great sense of comfort and relief that we have someone in custody that has some knowledge of all this," said Keith Brown, superintendent of Bay City schools.
May, who has been a substitute teacher for the school district since 2008, remained in the Matagorda County Jail in lieu of bail totaling $240,000.
"Each allegation is a separate third-degree felony carrying a penalty range of up to 10 years in prison," said Reis.
The school district has been the target of several threats in the past month including a letter sent to the superintendent over the holiday break threatening the students and his daughter.
A few days later, a threatening text message was sent to students that read: "FWD: Hey! forward this tomorrow, (that letter)..:1 rule broken, two girls die @ the jr. high and 2 from high school, dnt go! They gona have skewl on" lockdown.
A bomb threat was then made against Linnie Roberts Elementary and the next day a bomb threat was made against Bay City Junior High.
A second letter addressed to Brown was left in a mailbox belonging to Riverside Park, a city park on Farm-to-Market Road 2668 in Bay City.
The search warrant and arrest warrants were issued Wednesday by District Judge Craig Estlinbaum.
Though the investigation is on going, investigators are looking into whether others may have been involved, Reis said.
Parent Sheryl Langston is relieved someone has been arrested.
"I am glad he was arrested because every morning when I drop off my daughter at school I am worried all day until I pick her up in the afternoon," she said.
Langston has a 12-year-old at Bay City Junior High.
"I hope we can put all this behind us and bring him to justice," she added.
The motive for the threats is still under investigation, Brown said.