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Police: Texas substitute teacher charged with making threats

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Paul May is charged with 12 counts of making terroristic threats
  • Authorities are investigating whether May is behind threats last month
  • A letter and text message threatened students in Bay City, Texas, schools

(CNN) -- A substitute teacher was arrested on suspicion of making terroristic threats, and authorities are investigating whether he is behind a threatening letter and text message in his small Texas school district, authorities said Thursday.

Paul Nolen May, 41, was arrested Wednesday and faces 12 third-degree felony counts of terroristic threats, the Matagorda County Sheriff's Office and the district attorney's office said in statements.

May, of Bay City, Texas, "was arrested as the result of an investigation regarding anonymous death threats made to Bay City ISD (Independent School District) students," the sheriff's office said.

It was unclear, however, whether May was accused of writing a December letter threatening to kill students unless "bleeding heart liberals" cracked down on discipline. It was also unclear whether he sent a text message a few days later to some residents of Bay City with an additional threat.

"Officers and investigators from all involved agencies assisted in obtaining a search warrant for May's home in Bay City," District Attorney Steven Reis said in a statement. "The search warrant and arrest warrants were issued by District Judge Craig Estlinbaum following numerous threatening phone calls made during the day."

The investigation to determine whether "May and others committed threats over the past month against children in the school district" was ongoing, Reis said.

Bail was set at $20,000 on each of the charges, for a total of $240,000, authorities said. May was being held Thursday in the Matagorda County jail. No further information was available.

Authorities published the letter on January 3 in hopes the public would help catch the sender. The letter, riddled with profanity and misspellings, demanded that Bay City schools enforce quiet in their classrooms and stiffen detention and suspension policies. The author claimed to have a terminal illness and said his or her child was attacked after telling "some kidds to shut up in class one day."

"You (expletive) bleeding heart Liberals have let the pice of (expletive) kidds run your schools," said the letter, received December 28. "Now here are my rules. Break one and see what happens."

The writer threatened to kill a random student if administrators ignored the demands, saying superintendent Keith Brown's own children "will be well garded by then."

"Your lack of student control has hurt my child and I am termanal and will only be with them for 18 months," the letter said. "School will not be a nightmare for them."

The text message, sent January 5, says, "FWD: Hey! Forward this to everyone, (that letter)...1 rule broken, two girls die at the jr. high and 2 from high school, dnt go! The school will be on lockdown."

Security was tightened at schools the following day, and authorities said at the time about half the students had been out of classes since January 4, the day after the letter was released.

Each of the terroristic threat charges carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, authorities said.