EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office says a caller claiming to be in distress and threatening suicide that prompted a search by 10 agencies may have been a “swatting” attempt.
The sheriff’s office said swatting is term relates to fraudulent calls to police for service, usually involving a serious but non-existent crime or threat. The calls are often made using the internet or spoofed telephone numbers, making them difficult to trace.
The incident happened on Tuesday around 9:17 a.m. when the Vail Public Safety Communications Center took a call from an unknown female, going by the name of “Addy” who said she was in distress and threatening to complete suicide. The sheriff’s office said girl’s location was unknown, but believed to be in the Town of Eagle, due to the initial call trace.
According to the sheriff’s office, the female, who had been in contact with 911, said she had left her house and was outside, possibly on her front lawn, and very sick. The female did not respond to questions about her location, surroundings or other identifying information that first responders could use to locate her. The female relayed to the 911 operator that she was around 12-years of age and eventually provided a possible last name.
At least 10 agencies started canvassing neighborhoods and schools to try and locate the female and give her medical attention.
The agencies were: the Eagle Police Department, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Avon Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Eagle County Paramedic Services, Vail Public Safety Communications Center, Hope Center Eagle River Valley, and Eagle County Schools.
Investigators also started checking databases to search variations of the name “Addy” and verify that all students with similar names were at schools, according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office also said an Everbridge alert was sent out asking community members to call in if they had any information to assist first responders in finding the female.
After some time passed, investigators learned that the telephone number used by the female to call 911 came in from a landline phone that was traced to a local business. The business was contacted and found to have no staff with a medical emergency or a relation to the caller, “Addy”.
Around 6:30 p.m., the sheriff’s office said it was concluded that the call was made by someone who was not in distress and may have attempted “swatting” first responder agencies.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or having suicidal thoughts, please contact the Hope Center Eagle River ValleyHope Center Eagle River Valley’s 24/7 crisis line at (970) 306-4673 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.