JUNEAU — A juvenile suspect was identified and confessed to sending threatening text messages to elders of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness in Beaver Dam on Sunday, alluding to blowing up the church and congregation.
According to a press release from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, the juvenile will not be identified but a request for charges will be forwarded to the juvenile court in the jurisdiction where the suspect resides.
According to the press release, shortly after 9 a.m. on Sunday, two elders of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness, which is located in the town of Beaver Dam, received text-message threats while at their homes. The threats indicated the meeting and congregation were going to be blown up on Sunday.
The elders who received the threats are involved in the Spanish-speaking meetings that occur at that location. The church has two Spanish-speaking services each week, Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. It has English-speaking services two times a week as well, Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 9:30 a.m.
The threats were sent from a spoofed phone number, preventing identity of the sender of the threats or return contact.
However, investigators identified the device used to spoof the number and eventually the suspect.
The threats were determined not to be hate crimes directed toward any religion or ethnicity, according to the press release.
The building was searched with a dog trained in explosive detection. No explosives were found.
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the investigation by the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office, Madison Police Department, Sun Prairie Police Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.