The Basin Police Department responded Thursday to a report of a possible missing student at Laura Irwin Elementary that turned out to be a prank perpetrated by a young juvenile.
Basin Chief of Police Chris Kampbell said, “A call came in at 11:38 a.m. from a child claiming his friend has been abducted. The information he gave was descriptive in regard to the abductor and where he was hiding. He gave us the name of the friend who had been taken. The name turned out to be false.”
In a letter emailed to parents of LIE students, Principal Jared Moretti wrote in part, “Today (Dec. 20) at about 11:45 the Basin Police Department received a call about a possible missing child from Laura Irwin Elementary. They responded by coming to the school. The school immediately went into lockdown.
“In conjunction with the Basin Police Department, a thorough search of the building and grounds was conducted and all children were safe and accounted for.
“I would like to commend all of the children and staff for following procedures and doing exactly what they were supposed to do. Child safety is our No. 1 priority and we do everything possible to ensure the safety of each and every child.”
Once the lockdown was lifted on Thursday, Moretti said, “The procedures we have in place worked.”
Superintendent Mary Fisher said the response from law enforcement was outstanding.
School Resource Office Kyle McClure of the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office assisted Basin Chief of Police Chris Kampbell with the search of the school and the investigation. Also assisting during the lockdown were school personnel, Basin Sgt. Bob Willson, Big Horn County Sheriff’s Capt. Brent Godfrey and a Greybull Police officer.
Both LIE and Riverside High School were locked down. Kampbell said when he and the other officers arrived they searched the room where the child said he was hiding and did not find him.
“We then locked the school down and proceeded to verify that all the students were there,” Kampbell said.
A search of the school was conducted and an initial determination was made that all students were present and accounted for. Students that had been locked down in the cafeteria were then led by school and law enforcement personnel to the LIE multi-purpose room, where other students who had been in the school were waiting. Roll call of the entire school was then taken to confirm no one was missing.
Following roll call in the gym, students were released to the classroom for restricted movement. The full lockdown was lifted after McClure assisted school personnel to call and confirm the location of students who had officially been marked absent earlier in the day.
Kampbell said they traced the phone call and were able to determine the owner of the phone with the number. “We were able to identify the caller with the full cooperation of the parents,” he said.