BROOKSVILLE — The student accused of making six false bomb threats at Central High last week made the calls from inside the school, watching local officials respond to her erroneous threats, investigators say.
Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said Mizella Robinson, a junior who enrolled in January, was deliberately "throwing road blocks" at investigators by disguising her voice during the calls and saying she didn’t have any information when interviewed by detectives mid-week. Deputies are still trying to understand her motive, Nienhuis said.
"Anybody who makes six bomb threats in a week, and is actually viewing the drama that has caused, has to be disturbed," he said. He has recommended the 17-year-old student be tried in court as an adult. "The average person does not do that."
Sheriff’s detectives chronicled the events in arrest affidavits:
Robinson’s first call came into the Sheriff’s Office communications center on Monday, March 19. At about 12:43 p.m., she told the 911 operator: "Central High School, we are going to bomb Central." Four minutes later, in a second call, Robinson said "Central High School will be bombed.
School administrators were notified and ordered the school evacuated. Deputies did a sweep of the school and found nothing. Both calls were "mapped" to the northwest corner of school grounds, the Sheriff’s Office said.
On Tuesday, March 20, at about 7:42 a.m., the communications center received a third call and Central was evacuated.
"Central High School will burn," Robinson said, according to an affidavit. "Central High School will burn to death now."
Again, deputies did a sweep that yielded nothing suspicious, the Sheriff’s Office said. And again, deputies found the calls were coming from the northwest corner of campus.
At about 7:29 a.m. on Wednesday, March 21, Robinson made her fourth call to the administrative line at the Sheriff’s Office, deputies said. She said: "Central High will be bombed in two minutes," according to an arrest affidavit. At 10:05 a.m., she called the communications center with another threat.
"Central will be bombed," she told the operator.
This time, school administrators opted to order a lock-down, or shelter in place, rather than an evacuation. After a search, deputies deemed the school safe and found that, unlike the previous calls, these had come from the east side of campus.
Robinson on Thursday, March 22, made a sixth and final call to the communications center at about 7:25 a.m., with a threat similar to the others: "Central High School will be bombed." The school was placed on lock-down and cleared.
On Tuesday, the Sheriff said data gathered from the communication center proved all the threats were coming from the same device, and that the person making them might be inside or near the school. But the limited nature of the information, he said, made it difficult for detectives to pinpoint a single person as the culprit.
Using clues from background noise on the phone calls — and through investigative techniques the Sheriff’s Office declined to describe — deputies identified dozens of students thought to have information, Nienhuis said.
"It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack," the sheriff said.
That group included Robinson, who was interviewed by a detective on March 20, after the third threat. She said "she was not in possession of a cell phone and had no knowledge of who called in the threat," an affidavit said.
Detectives went to Robinson’s home, 12069 Pitcairn St., on Friday, March 23. She was transported to the Sheriff’s Office, where authorities said she admitted that she was responsible for the calls.
Robinson was arrested just before 2 p.m. and transported to the Marion Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Ocala, where she remained without bond on Tuesday afternoon, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Denise Moloney.
Robinson faces six counts each of false reporting of a bomb and unlawful use of a communications device, both felonies. She also is charged with six counts of disruption of a school function and five counts of misuse of the 911 system.
Contact Megan Reeves at email@example.com. Follow @mareevs.