Fayette County

Woman, 59, accused of placing fake ‘weapon of mass destruction’ at Tates Creek Elementary

In this October 2013 file photo, teachers guided Tates Creek Elementary students back into the building after evacuating for a small fire cause by construction. No one was injured. On Wednesday, Tates Creek students were again evacuated while police officers and firefighters dealt with a suspicious package.
In this October 2013 file photo, teachers guided Tates Creek Elementary students back into the building after evacuating for a small fire cause by construction. No one was injured. On Wednesday, Tates Creek students were again evacuated while police officers and firefighters dealt with a suspicious package. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

A 59-year-old woman who lives within a mile of Tates Creek Elementary has been charged with terroristic threatening for allegedly placing “a counterfeit weapon of mass destruction” at the school, according to court records.

Police and fire crews went to the school about 9 a.m. after a staff member found an unidentified package near the school. Police evacuated the school and moved the children to the gym of nearby Tates Creek Middle School, according to Fayette County schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall.

Sharon Melbourne was taken to the Fayette County jail. She is scheduled for a court hearing Thursday.

Deffendall directed questions about Melbourne, including whether she was affiliated with the school, to police Wednesday.

The package had suspicious markings, but police Lt. Clay Combs didn’t say what those were or what was found inside the package.

Police and firefighters later cleared the school of the threat. Combs said emergency responders have to treat such calls especially carefully.

“We don’t get many of these,” Combs said.

Michael McKay: 859-231-1324, @hlpublicsafety

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