Arrest made in Facebook comment string

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WALLA WALLA -- On Wednesday, deputies arrested a Burbank teen in connection with a string of racially derogatory and vulgar Facebook postings that resulted with a morning lockdown of Columbia High School in Burbank on Feb. 28.

According to Walla Walla County Undersheriff Edward Freyer, a 15-year-old boy is in custody at the county's Juvenile Justice Center on investigation of disorderly conduct.

The potential charge is a misdemeanor and includes the use of abusive language that "creates a risk of assault."

The string of comments began March 26 and included racial slurs and obscenities that could be construed as threatening in nature, though no specific threat was made, Freyer said.

The Sheriff's Office was notified about the Facebook comments by a third party who called dispatch at around 11 p.m. on Feb. 27.

The next day, extra deputies were put on patrol at Columbia High School, the school was put in lockdown and a third of the student body was absent, Freyer said.

Also that day, the case was turned over to a team of Facebook crime investigators.

Shortly after the investigation began, the Facebook page was shut down by the suspect, Freyer said.

Within a few days, the suspect was identified and questioned, but he denied having made the posting, Freyer said.

A month later, on Wednesday, the Facebook crimes team reported the residence where the posting had been made -- the residence of the suspect who had previously been questioned, Freyer said.

Investigators questioned the suspect again, and he admitted to posting the Facebook comments and was arrested, Freyer said.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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