Volusia County

South Daytona Teen Arrested for Flagler Schools Threats


Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly made an announcement on Friday that much of the county was awaiting anxiously: an arrest has been made in the repeated threats placed against multiple Flagler schools, primarily Buddy Taylor Middle School. The perpetrator who’s been taken into custody is Jaureion Seneca Paul Smith, a teenage boy from South Daytona, just a 40-minute drive south from the schools he allegedly harassed. Though initial reports listed him as 14 years old, a statement posted Friday evening by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office listed him as 13.

According to Staly, the boy carried out the threats on a dare from a student who does go to Buddy Taylor. On Friday the boy is said to have placed calls to BTMS, after similar calls were made earlier in the week to nearby Old Kings Elementary School, and a private school in Bunnell.

Staly delivered the news in a press conference Friday evening, announced suddenly, presumably to spread the word that the panic was over as quickly as possible. He confirmed that the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office did not have the identity of the BTMS student who’s said to have dared the suspect to place the threats - but he urged that student to turn themselves in or else they’d be found in the ongoing investigation.

The suspect may or may not be charged as an adult - Staly didn't know and it will ultimately be up to the State Attorney's office - but if he is, each charge will carry with it a maximum of five years in prison. He's already been charged with making a false report of a bomb, tampering with evidence, and unlawful usage of a two-way communication device. It remains to be seen the full breadth of charges issued against the teen. As of now, he's only charged for allegedly calling BTMS on Friday, when he's said to have told the school it would blow up in minutes.

Even in the event the suspect hadn’t been caught for some time, the end was in sight for the mass confusion and disarray caused by the threats: the end of the school year is only days away. But still, families will now have the ability to send their kids to school with the knowledge that a suspect is in custody.