CHOWAN COUNTY, NC-A threatening letter forced authorities to close Chowan-Edenton Public Schools on Tuesday and had authorities searching the Chowan courthouse, the Chowan River Bridge and the Albemarle Sound Bridge.
School staff and K-9s from the Currituck Sheriff's Office searched the schools three times between Monday and Tuesday, according to Sheriff a combined total of 3 times between yesterday and this morning. The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation, the NC Highway Patrol and the Coast Guard are searching the bridges.
The postmaster is tracking the letter and the FBI has the letter for testing.
Initially, the division on Monday put the schools on a two-hour delay for today, but around 6:00 a.m. decided to closed them.
School officials confirmed to WVEC.com that a bomb threat was made and parents/staff were notified of the closure in a phone message just after 6:00 a.m.
Initially, the system was on a two-hour delay Tuesday because of upgrade to the sewer pumping station, according to a note on the school division's Website.
Then, just before 7:00 a.m., that post had changed and stated its four schools were closed for students and staff.
Authorities said the message about the pipe work was put out so they could conduct their searches unhindered.
13News Now viewers reported receiving a phone call just after 6:00 a.m. about the closure and that the reason given was because of a bomb threat.
The message stated, 'On Monday, we received information from our local Sheriff's Department about a bomb threat to our area bridges and schools. While working with local law enforcement to contain the investigation, we were advised to delay schools to protect our students and staff. Due to the status of the investigation, and after advisement from our local law enforcement, we have decided to close school for students and staff for Tuesday October 8th.'
An official with Edenton-Chowan schools told WVEC.com, 'For the safety of students and staff, we are closed and we are cooperating with law enforcement in the matter.'
She confirmed the threat began sometime Monday and that schools were not affected. We were referred to the police department for information about the investigation itself.
The four schools affected are White Oak ES, D.F. Walker ES, Chowan Middle and John A. Holmes High.
At College of the Albemarle's Edenton-Chowan campus, an advisory sent to 13News Now and posted on its Facebook page stated the campus was on a two-hour delay Tuesday for maintenance and then finally closed around 9:15 a.m.
A message posted on its Facebook page said: 'College of The Albemarle received a message Monday evening from the Chowan County Sheriff's Office in regards to a broad bomb threat, including schools. The college, in working with the local law enforcement, chose to delay the Edenton-Chowan campus opening by 2 hours. There is no additional information at this time about the threat. The Chowan County Sheriff's Office is coordinating efforts regarding the threat.
The Director of College Safety and Security and other personnel have taken measures to ensure the Edenton-Chowan Campus is secure. Personnel will remain onsite throughout the day to continue to ensure there are no threats to the campus.
In continued coordination with Chowan County law enforcement, College of The Albemarle has decided to close the Edenton-Chowan Campus for the remainder of Tuesday, October 8. 2013. The Edenton-Chowan Campus will reopen tomorrow morning, Wednesday, October 9th at 8 a.m.