Herald JournalHerald Journal, June 6, 2005

School cook charged with 8 felonies in Waconia threat case

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

Eight felony terroristic threat charges are facing a cook from Clearwater Middle School following a series of threats she allegedly made recently.

Shannon Rae Voeller, 34, has a court appearance set for Wednesday, June 8 to face the charges. In the meantime, Voeller received a civil commitment and is being evaluated by medical professionals, according to the Carver County Sheriff’s Department.

While Voeller was in the intensive care unit at St. Francis Hospital in Shakopee for an undisclosed reason May 11, she admitted she may be the one responsible for the threats that had been written at the school, and also the threats that had been sent through the mail.

Although no clear motive was given for the threats, Voeller told authorities she “put stuff she had read about Columbine and Red Lake in the letters,” according to a criminal complaint.

A handwriting sample provided by Voeller was analyzed by a forensic scientist in Bloomington, who determined Voeller could have produced at least eight of the 13 threats that were found, according to a criminal complaint.

The charges come after a four-week investigation, which began May 2 when threatening writing was found on bathroom stalls at Clearwater Middle School. From there, authorities discovered a suspicious package at Safari Island recreational center May 4, which is attached to the school. A series of threatening letters, which indicated threats toward specific people and buildings, began to arrive May 9.

Because of the threats and concerns that were raised, schools and Safari Island were closed for three days.

Voeller is currently on administrative leave from the district, said Supt. Jerry Kjergaard, noting that when she was hired with the district, a background check was completed, which came up clear.

“If anything suspicious had been found, she would not have been offered a position in the district,” he said.

Kjergaard also said the district is continuing to get its classrooms back to normal and focusing on a successful end to the school year.

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