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Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Utah teen faces potential weapon of mass destruction charge

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Mar 7th, 2018 @ 10:32pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — A detention hearing was held Wednesday for a teenage boy accused of leaving explosives in a backpack at a St. George high school and raising an ISIS flag at another.

No formal charges have been filed against him, but he is being held in juvenile detention for investigation of possession or use of a weapon of mass destruction, threat of terrorism, graffiti and abuse of a flag

KSL has opted not to name the boy at this time.

The teen was arrested Monday after a backpack with homemade explosives was found in the lunchroom area of Pine View High School. Several students saw smoke coming from the backpack and immediately notified school administrators and a school resource officer.

The school was evacuated and no one was injured. But police say the device was intended to hurt people or cause damage to the school.

Local and federal investigators served a search warrant on the boy's home and found items "consistent with the materials used to build the device placed at Pine View," according to police. Investigators also discovered that the teen had been "researching information and expressing interest in ISIS and promoting the organization."

Wednesday's detention hearing was held in 5th District Juvenile Court. Details about what occurred during the hearing were not immediately available.

The same boy is believed to have spray-painted graffiti on a wall at Hurricane High School that stated, "ISIS is comi--" and for replacing the high school's flag with an ISIS flag in February.

According to the Washington County School District, the student was only taking one class at the high school because he was part of the Success Academy, a partnership with Dixie State University that allows students to enroll concurrently for high school and college classes. The program is typically for accelerated learning students, according to the district.

The student had attended the high school full-time in the past, according to the district.

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