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Girls arrested for Mountain Vista HS murder plot

Posted: 7:56 AM, Dec 16, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-16 09:56:36-05
Girls arrested for Mountain Vista HS murder plot

Two 16-year-old girls have been arrested for making what's described as a credible threat to Mountain Vista High School according to the Douglas County School District.

"The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has investigated and confirmed a credible threat to MVHS from two female, MVHS students who planned to cause harm to our staff and students at MVHS this week," the Douglas County School District said in a letter sent to parents across the district. "According to DCSO, these two students have been apprehended and face serious felony charges including conspiracy to commit first-degree murder."

Read the entire letter below.

Mountain Vista High School is in Highlands Ranch. The school, and the district, were closed Tuesday because of heavy snow, but the alleged threat was still the talk of the community.

"I think it's pretty crazy," said Carlie Curran, a student at the school. "You don't know what could happen, and it's our school.  You're supposed to be in a safe place there."

"I think we got lucky," said Curran's sister Allie. "A lot of people thought it was going to happen today, so I guess we got really lucky that we got the security to protect us."

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said it was first made aware of the threat against Mountain Vista High School on Saturday.

"The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office acted immediately and has determined there was a credible threat, which has resulted in two 16-year-old females who attend Mountain Vista High School being identified," the sheriff's office said in a news release sent to Denver7.  Authorities aren't releasing their names because they're both juveniles.

Both suspects are in "secured facilities," officials said.

"We take these types of threats extremely seriously and will take all efforts necessary to ensure the safety of our schools, students, and teachers," Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said.

Investigators said, "At this time we believe the situation has been contained and the threat disrupted."

Several Highlands Ranch residents told Denver 7 that based on what they've heard, pursuing felony charges seems warranted.

"I think they're doing the right thing," said Leana Kerr, who lives across from the school. "This is a serious time that we're living in.  It's so dangerous these days and we have to take any precaution in order to keep our family and community safe."

"Kids, you don't know what's going through their minds these days," said Vincent Maronna, "that they would even think of committing murder.  On the flip side of that, you don't know if it was a prank, if they were just saying something in jest and someone else took it seriously.  You have to be safe."

While school officials and investigators are not releasing any other details, Mountain Vista High School principal Michael Weaver sent a letter to parents that said, "I want you to know that many of the safety systems we have in place worked well. Through our partnerships with law enforcement and our families, this threat was successfully disrupted."

Read the letter to parents from Mountain Vista High School principal Michael Weaver:

Dear MVHS Parents, Families & Community,

I am writing today to share information about a law enforcement investigation involving our school.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) has investigated and confirmed a credible threat to MVHS from two female, MVHS students who planned to cause harm to our staff and students at MVHS this week. According to DCSO, these two students have been apprehended and face serious felony charges including conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Please see the information at the end of this letter released today by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

I want you to know that many of the safety systems we have in place worked well. Through our partnerships with law enforcement and our families, this threat was successfully disrupted.

Our emphasis at Mountain Vista is always to create the safest learning environment possible for all students and staff on a daily basis. It takes a partnership to keep our students safe. As you know, it is important to us that our students develop trusting relationships with the Vista staff and we will continue to encourage kids to bring any concern to our attention. As always, any student, staff, parent, or community member can anonymously report a concern through the Safe 2 Tell program [1-877-542-SAFE (7233)]. Students can also utilize the Text-A-Tip program. Information regarding the Text-A-Tip program is available at our school.

Please be assured that the staff, teachers and administrators at Mountain Vista care deeply about our kids and families and we work hard to make our school a positive and safe place for all students. 

Read the information released by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office:

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of a threat against Mountain Vista High School on Saturday, December 12, 2015. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office acted immediately and has determined there was a credible threat, which has resulted in two 16-year-old females who attend Mountain Vista High School being identified. Both females have been apprehended and placed in secured facilities. Pending charge(s) include Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Murder.

Sheriff Tony Spurlock wants the public to know, “We take these types of threats extremely seriously and will take all efforts necessary to ensure the safety of our schools, students, and teachers. We thank the Douglas County School District for all their assistance during the investigation.”

This is an open and ongoing investigation; detectives are actively working this case in cooperation with the 18th District Attorney’s Office and the Douglas County School District to ensure the safety of all students. At this time we believe the situation has been contained and the threat disrupted.

If you have any information that pertains to this case, please contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 303-660-7500.  For non-emergent information, call the Major Case Tipline at 303-660-7579.

No further information is available at this time.

Read the letter from DCSD Superintendent Liz Fagen:

Dear Douglas County Families:

I am writing today to inform you of a situation at Mountain Vista High School (MVHS). As you know, we usually do not send communication about one school community to our entire school district.  However, due to the nature and gravity of this particular situation, we felt it important to share these recent events with all Douglas County School District (DCSD) families and take this opportunity to reiterate and emphasize the importance of our partnership in keeping all DCSD students and staff safe.

As you will see below, in a letter from MVHS principal Mike Weaver to the MVHS community and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) press release, DCSO has investigated and confirmed a credible threat to MVHS from two female, MVHS students who planned to cause harm to our staff and students at MVHS this week.

According to DCSO, these two students have been apprehended and face serious felony charges including conspiracy to commit first degree murder.  While there is little more we can say at this time due to the investigative process, we want you to know that many of the safety systems we have in place worked well - did their jobs successfully, and it was through these systems, including our partnerships with law enforcement and our families, that this threat was successfully disrupted.

We have long said that it is only through our partnership with our community, our parents, and our law enforcement that we may be successful in keeping all DCSD staff and students safe, and still we understand that even that does not provide us with any type of guarantee.  However, together with our law enforcement partners and DCSD families, we have committed to employing layers of safety and support -  physical, psychological, and online, and I want to thank all of those involved who have successfully protected our students and staff.

As I mentioned above, there is little more that we are able to say at this time.  However if you have additional questions or concerns, please contact your building principal. 

Finally, as you may know, any student, staff, parent, or community member can anonymously report a concern through the Safe 2 Tell program at 1-877-542-SAFE. Students can also utilize the Text-A-Tip program. Information regarding the Text-A-Tip program is available at every school.

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