A kid was impersonating her online

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A 13-year-old girl who was arrested and charged with posting threatening messages via social media toward students and staff at Renaissance Charter School in Pembroke Pines has been exonerated, authorities said Thursday.

A 12-year-old girl who attends the same school is now charged with making the threats and impersonating the 13-year-old by creating fake Instagram and email accounts in the 13-year-old’s name. Charges were presented Thursday to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

“Police officers confirmed that the actual suspect maliciously impersonated another student, created email and Instagram accounts to send herself as well as other students threatening messages and intentionally lied to law enforcement and school staff to frame another person,” said Pembroke Pines Capt. Adam Feiner.

Neither girl was identified by Pembroke Pines Police.

The 13-year-old was arrested Nov. 19, 2021, after false threats were posted on an Instagram account in her name.

Police said the 13-year-old’s mother chose to “exercise their rights and did not cooperate with investigators.” She did not allow them to examine the girl’s digital devices at the time, Feiner said.

Due the urgency of the threats, and in accordance with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act as well as multiple witness statements from students and administrators, physical evidence and consultation with prosecutors, the 13-year-old was arrested, Feiner said.

The 13-year-old’s mother later chose to cooperate with investigators, police said. The new information led to a subpoena for the IP addresses associated with the threats.

“It was not until Dec. 21, 2021, that the mother of the arrested student chose to share information which prompted investigating officers to apply for an additional subpoena,” said Feiner.

Feiner said on Jan. 18, police found new evidence to lead them to believe the 12-year-old lied about the 13-year-old.

Feiner said prosecutors were informed of the new development and five subpoenas and two search warrants were issued.

On Jan. 25, the 13-year-old was exonerated. The charges against her have been dropped.

Feiner said it is “inappropriate” to say the 13-year-old was wrongfully arrested because their actions, in accordance with the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, were based on “all the available information known at the time.” He further said as soon as police got new information they took “immediate and swift action” to exonerate the 13-year-old and charge the 12-year-old.

The 12-year-old has been charged with felony written threats to kill or do bodily harm as well as falsifying a police report, penalty for disruption of an educational institution on criminal use of personal information, and criminal use of personal information.

The 12-year-old girl had not been arrested late Thursday because the posted threats no longer pose an immediate danger, police said.


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