Arrest in radio-related school threat


A Florida woman has been arrested in California in connection with a treats made to a radio station that led to a lock-down of Broward County schools in South Florida. She is now facing charges that could land her in federal prison for up to five years.

The bizarre case began with an email sent to talk host Joyce Kaufman (pictured) at WFTL-AM West Palm Beach. According to the complaint that the FBI filed in a Miami federal court, the email congratulated Kaufman on being selected as Chief of Staff for newly-elected US Rep. Allen West (R-FL). [Kaufman subsequently declined the post due to intense press coverage of her past on-air comments.] The November 10 email went on to applaud Kaufman for her views on the 2nd Amendment, which deals with the right to bear arms, and having people with guns get organized. “I’m planning something big around a government building here in Broward County, maybe a post office, maybe even a school, I’m going to walk in and teach all the government hacks working there what the 2nd amendment is all about,” the FBI agent quoted the email as saying.

Later the same morning a woman called WFTL and said her husband was going to a school in Pembroke Pines and carry out a shooting. She wanted the station to broadcast a plea for her husband not to carry out the shooting. After the radio station notified local authorities, schools with more than 200K students went into lock-down.

The phone number the call came from was traced to a cell phone belonging to Elissa Martinez of New Port Richey, FL, on the Gulf Coast. When the FBI showed up at her door the woman claimed her phone had been left at a restaurant on November 10th and she refused to let agents examine her computer. While the agents were getting a search warrant, Martinez disappeared from her home.

Once the computer was seized, the FBI determined that the email to Kaufman had been sent from it. Also, security video from the restaurant did not show Martinez as a customer on the morning in question. 

Martinez was tracked to the West Coast and arrested Tuesday (11/23), according to the Miami Herald and WFTL. She faces one count of interstate communication of a threat to injure another person.