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NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) — An Oklahoma man is accused of creating bogus social media accounts and claiming he'd been kidnapped to try to get his ex-wife's attention, and later bombing her house in Louisiana.
A Natchitoches Parish judge has set bond at $1 million for 42-year-old Robert Groomer, of Ardmore, Oklahoma, who was booked last month on two counts of attempted homicide and one each of aggravated arson, making or possessing a bomb, and violating a protective order.
KALB-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1N5tt4r ) that about three weeks ago, it and several other stations around Louisiana received messages from someone claiming to have Groomer as a hostage. The station provided the messages to the parish sheriff's officers.
Investigators knew that Groomer's ex-wife had moved to the city of Natchitoches, about 75 miles southeast of Shreveport, and had received a protective order against him last year, according to a sheriff's office news release.
It said Groomer's ex-wife and another resident told deputies that an explosion and fire woke them up Aug. 22. The other resident and a neighbor put out the fire, but found several stacked cylinders under the raised house, a news release said.
Meanwhile, television stations got messages asking why they weren't covering a bombing at a Natchitoches house.
"Detectives began focusing on Groomer, who had been convicted of prior federal explosive charges," a sheriff's office news release said. "Detectives then learned that Groomer was not the victim of a kidnapping or abduction, and the abduction had been staged to gain the attention of his ex-wife."
Groomer was arrested Aug. 24 and waived extradition.
The sheriff's office news release thanked the FBI and "KALB News Channel 5 Alexandria and other media outlets that assisted and were patient with us while detectives collected essential facts and evidence to make an arrest in this case."
It also released copies of alleged selfies sent by Groomer. One shows him apparently naked with his knees drawn to his chest, with some other sort of tape over his mouth, his arms around his left leg and what appears to be a plastic tie around his right wrist, and the ends of what appear to be other ties possibly attached to his ankles and left wrist, which are out of the frame. Another shows his face, an apparent bruise above his left eye and his right possibly blackened, with duct tape over his mouth and the neck of a white T-shirt showing. A close-up of his face without tape shows his right eye blackened, the same side of his upper lip swollen, and a bit of blood between his left nostril and his mouth.
Information from: KALB-TV, http://kalb.com
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