Ehmke press release

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Dodge County Sheriff's Office press release: Investigation into the death of Rachel Ehmke.

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Ehmke press release

  1. 1. DODGE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE 22 EAST 6TH STREET, DEPT. 201 MANTORVILLE, MN 55955 PRESS RELEASE05/08/2012RE: INVESTIGATION INTO THE DEATH OF RACHEL EHMKEOn April 26th a text message was forwarded to several students’ cell phones that referred to RachelEhmke as a Slut and suggested sending it around to get Rachel out of the school.On the morning of Friday April 27th, four female students reported this text message to Principal Al Hodgeat the Kasson Mantorville Middle School.At 0820am on Friday morning Principal Hodge advised School Resource Officer Jason Peck of themessage that was reportedly being forwarded.At 1210pm on Friday, Officer Peck talked to Rachel about the message. Rachel indicated to him that themessage was going around and it didn’t bother her. She further indicated to Officer Peck that she wassure the four students that reported it had nothing to do with it because she was now getting along withthem. Officer Peck told her he would investigate the text message further. Officer Peck noted at this timethat Rachel indicated she had also received this text message which she had deleted prior to talking withhim. He later discovered that the number Rachel told him the text came from did not match the numberthe other students had received it from.On Saturday April 28th at approximately 0804PM, the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from the MaryEhmke residence in rural Mantorville reporting an attempted suicide. The victim, 13 year old RachelEhmke, was taken to St Mary’s Hospital where she later died.The Sheriff’s Office investigation of the residence that evening found no suicide note or any specificindication from Rachel indicating why she chose to take her own life. Rachel’s family indicated that shewas upset about the text message being investigated and she mentioned wanting to change schools.The family said that Rachel had been dealing with on-going bullying in school for several months.On Sunday April 29th, while Officer Peck was assisting reviewing materials in Rachel’s school locker,there was a hand written note that appeared to indicate she was talking with another student aboutchanging schools or going to an on-line school to avoid the problems she was having at the Kasson-Mantorville Middle school.On Monday April 30th , it was determined that the text message in question had originated from an IPodapplication from Pinger, Inc, an application that allows Ipods to send text messages to cell phones viainternet wi-fi connections. An administrative subpoena was issued and a few days later the companyreported an IP address as the source of this email message. A search of this IP address identified it asan address belonging to the KM-Telecom in Kasson.On May 2nd, an administrative subpoena was issued to KM-Telecom in Kasson for the location of this IPAddress. Law Enforcement received the results that afternoon indicating that the text message originatedfrom Rachel’s father’s residence in Mantorville. Phone 507-635-6200 * Fax 507-635-6225 * www.co.dodge.mn.us/sheriff.html
  2. 2. DODGE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE 22 EAST 6TH STREET, DEPT. 201 MANTORVILLE, MN 55955During this time period, there were several students, including the four students who originally reportedthe text message, that were being blamed for the message and Rachel’s actions. These students hadbecome the targets of bullying and harassment during that week after Rachel’s death both in school andonline.While we weren’t prepared to release any specific details regarding the text message and its origin due tothe investigation being ongoing, we felt that it was important that a message get sent out to parents andstudents that the students who were being singled out for this incident were not responsible for it. Thisinformation was provided to the school who then sent out a message to parents and students indicatingthat the message did not come from any of these students. This release was done with theunderstanding that after further investigation, a press release would be issued regarding theinvestigations findings.Through our investigation, which is still open pending autopsy results, we’ve determined that the textmessage in question originated from Rachel’s father’s residence, and possibly Rachel herself. Due tothere being no suicide note left, we can only speculate as to her motivation for sending this message out.We did receive information that she had been talking to friends about trying to transfer out of KM becauseof problems she had been having there and had mentioned this to her parents on Friday.In conclusion, we believe that harassment and bullying were likely factors in Rachel’s death. That beingsaid, it appears that she had problems with a number of different people, of different ages, over the pastseveral months. Unfortunately, there was a rush to judgment by many as to who was responsible for thismost recent incident. Many of these students who have been singled out, harassed and bullied since herdeath were in fact students who Rachel told Officer Peck that she was now friends with again. There isnot one incident or action done by any particular student(s) that we believe is responsible for Rachel’sdeath. Because of this, the County Attorney’s Office had determined that there is insufficient evidence tofile charges against anyone regarding this case. However, the students responsible for harassing thesestudents who were singled out will now risk being charged if their conduct continues. There has also beenharassment reported this past week against some of the parents of these students. The person(s)responsible for this and any future harassment also risk being investigated and charged accordingly.Our next step is to meet with the Kasson Police Department and the K-M School District to discussincreased involvement of the School Resource Officer in reviewing bullying and harassment complaintsfiled within the KM school district and consequences for students who participate in this behavior. Wewould like to assist in educating the community about harassment and bullying including inappropriatebehaviors via social media and texting. We believe that law enforcement can work together with the publicto help prevent an incident like this from happening again.As mentioned before, this case will remain open pending final autopsy results. _____________ _____________ _____________ Phone 507-635-6200 * Fax 507-635-6225 * www.co.dodge.mn.us/sheriff.html

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