On the evening of August 11, 2018, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a hostage situation at a house on Ressique Road in the Town of Kent. The caller alleged that he had an AR-15, had shot his wife and was now holding his son hostage. Sheriff’s Deputies, Sheriff’s Investigators and members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Kent Police Department responded to the scene.
Members of the Sheriff’s Department were able to get in contact with the homeowner who stated he was out of state with his family and advised that the house should be unoccupied. A neighbor was able to provide a key to the home.
Members of the Sheriff’s Department and the ERT team proceeded down the driveway and set up a perimeter around the house. Sergeant Thomas Lee, Deputy Ronald Yeager, Deputy Michael Varley and Deputy Chris Conley entered and cleared both floors of the residence confirming that the home was unoccupied and there was no hostage or other emergency situation.
The matter was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) for further investigation. During the investigation, Investigators were able to get information about the phone used to make the “fake” emergency call. They also learned that there were similar incidents in other jurisdictions around the United States.
The Investigators, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies from around the country, were able to identify the caller and determine that the calls originated in Mahoning County, Ohio. The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to handle charges related to the crimes, and on February 27, 2019, 73 counts of delinquency were filed in Mahoning County, against a male, 17 year old Ohio resident. The charges include 40 felonies and 33 misdemeanors.
Putnam County Sheriff Robert L. Langley, Jr. hopes that the resolution of this case will dissuade others from trying this type of activity.