Creepy Clown Epidemic Reaches Central Texas
UPDATE 3:17 PM: Gatesville ISD posted a message to their official Facebook page Friday assuring parents that they are aware of unsubstantiated rumors of people dressed like clowns abducting children in the Central Texas area. They're working with local police to ensure the safety of students, and are asking anyone who sees anything suspicious or has concerns about the situation to contact authorities.
We have received no reports of actual clown sightings, abductions, or assaults in Central Texas, but will continue to monitor the situation as well.
School districts in Corpus Christi and Waco are currently investigating social media threats they believe to be inspired by the "creepy clown" trend which began in South Carolina in August.
KWTX reports that campus police were questioning two people who may have knowledge about the source of a threat posted online Thursday night that prompted added security at two area high schools Friday.
Waco ISD spokesperson Bruce Gietzen said the district takes threats against students' safety seriously, but there has been no indication of a credible threat in this case.
Waco isn't the only Texas city dealing with the aftermath of a clown scare.
Corpus Christi's Caller Times reports that a seventh grade student posting as "Jax Da'klown" took to social media Wednesday night to encourage people to dress as clowns and commit acts of violence at 10 campuses in that area.
Extra security measures were put in place and the student has been disciplined, but he will not face criminal charges.
Ingleside Police Chief Stan Bynum posted to social media Thursday to dispel rumors that there had been clown sightings in the area.
Meanwhile, schools in Reading, Ohio were closed after the alleged physical attack of a woman by a man dressed as a clown, during which the suspect reportedly made threats against students.
Cincinnati.com reports that the victim was smoking on the porch of her apartment when a man dressed in a striped clown outfit with a red wig and white mask approached her from behind and put his hand around her neck.
The man reportedly told the victim he was going to make teachers and students at a nearby school sorry they were ever born, then threatened to kill her. He reportedly fled the scene when a neighbor's smoke alarm sounded, but firmly squeezed the victim's neck one last time before doing so.
The New York Times reports that at least 12 people have been arrested across multiple states in relation to clown hoaxes since the frightening trend began in Greenville County, South Carolina.
A 16-year-old boy was fatally stabbed in Reading, Pennsylvania on Sunday, September 25 in connection with a clown incident. According to WFMJ-TV, it is unclear if the boy was dressed as the clown or confronted another man in a clown suit.