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FBI investigating suspicious letters sent to Big Bend, South Georgia schools

FBI looking into suspicious letters sent to local schools
Posted at 6:39 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 20:58:00-05

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — The FBI is looking into three separate cases involving threats mailed to schools in the Big Bend area and South Georgia.

The first time it happened was on January 4 in Thomasville. Thomasville Police say someone sent two letters with a "chemical-type threat" to the staff. On February 17, Wakulla High School received a similar letter.

"Wednesday afternoon, about the time the students were getting out of Wakulla High School, the school day had ended, a school employee opened up a letter," said Lt. Jeffrey Yarbrough with the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office.

That letter claimed the white powder in the envelope was anthrax.

"Tallahassee Fire Department was able to determine it was not any sort of harmful substance. It was believed to be anthrax, turns out it was talcum powder," said Lt. Yarbrough.

Then on Thursday another letter arrived, this time at Taylor High School in Taylor County. Now the FBI is investigating who is behind those suspicious packages.

"With it being anthrax or biologically harmful and going to the postal service, it's one of the big components that makes it a federal issue," he said.

Now as a precaution, Leon County Schools is issuing guidance to all of its principals on how to handle suspicious packages. The Leon School District sent out an email to all principals, giving them instructions on how to handle any unexpected mail. Leon County Schools Safety and Security Coordinator Jimmy Williams says they're now in communication with law enforcement.

"Anything suspicious at all, they'll stop what they're doing, they'll notify us. If it's an emergency, they'll dial 911," said Williams. "We were actually in communication with the sheriff's office; as we are every week; about the specific topic of suspicious packages. Right now we have no information that leads us to believe we're under any sort of threat or anything."

A spokesperson with the FBI gave the following statement to ABC 27:

"We cannot confirm nor deny the existence or status of any current federal investigation. However, in recent months FBI Jacksonville has provided assistance to our law enforcement partners in more than one white powder letter incident across the Division, which is standard in matters involving potentially hazardous materials. We are not able to confirm details nor connections between the incidents at this time, but we continue to work with our partners to identify and disrupt any criminal activity affecting our communities."