Authorities in Florida say two middle-school students were arrested on suspicion of plotting a mass kidnapping and murder.
According to ABC News, a teacher allegedly spotted the two 14-year-old girls become “hysterical” as they looked for a folder in class this week at Avon Park Middle School.
“I’m just going to tell them it’s a prank if they call me or if they find it,” the teacher reportedly heard one of the suspects tell the other.
The same teacher later located the missing folder and found handwritten plans to kidnap and kill nine people, as reported by WFTS.
Police say six of the targeted individuals are also 14. One is 15 and the remaining two are 17.
“Private info,” the folder read, according to police. It also reportedly referenced “Project 11/9” and stated “Do not open.”
Through a total of eight letters, the teens allegedly laid out their plan to obtain guns and dispose of the bodies after the murders.
According to police reports, the “plans further speak about the transportation of the victim’s bodies to other locations and their disposal, specifically burning and burying their bodies.”
Investigators described the “great detail” in which the letters describe “how they would lure the victims, kill the victims, and dispose of the victims’ bodies.”
Among the details they allegedly hammered out were rules about their attire as they committed the violent crimes.
Authorities reportedly spoke to each of the individuals named in the documents — and each of them “wished to pursue charges” against the suspect.
The two teens were arrested on Friday — one day before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School mass shooting in Littleton, Colorado — and are expected to face nine counts of attempting to conspire felony homicide and three counts of attempting to conspire felony kidnapping.
Whether or not they were sincere in the alleged plot makes little difference to Highlands County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Scott Dressel.
“It doesn’t matter if they thought it was a joke,” he said. “It’s not a joke. There’s no joking about something like this. You don’t make a joke about killing people. It’s not a joke.”
The school district’s deputy superintendent echoed Dressel’s warning, reiterating “that we are all accountable for the information that we communicate” and that all threats will be treated seriously.
“We have stressed the concept that if staff or students hear or see something that concerns them, to please share that information with someone that can do something about it,” Andrew Lethbridge said. “In this situation, we witnessed this concept in action. This enables us to be proactive and respond to situations prior to an incident taking place.”
[Featured image: Pexels]