RALEIGH, N.C. — An Oxford mother whose 16-year-old son faces charges in a bomb threat against Purdue University said Friday that Internet reports that he was paid to make similar threats at other schools are untrue.
"He was not calling schools and doing that," Annette Lundeby said, although she did acknowledge her son, Ashton Lundeby, made prank phone calls on the Internet and charged a "small fee."
"I knew that he made crank calls," she said. "I don't know what teenager hasn't."
Ashton Lundeby is being held at a South Bend, Ind., juvenile facility following a March 5 arrest stemming from a false bomb threat against Purdue University.
In a news release issued Thursday, David Capp, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, said there had also been similar threats to other schools.
Some online reports claim the teen would make threats to get schools to close and take payments for doing so.
Annette Lundeby said her son never did anything illegal, to her knowledge, and that she believes someone framed him after he refused to call in a bomb threat to a high school in Australia.
She said her son was at church at the time several threats were called into Purdue University police on Feb. 15.
"He (the person she said she believes framed him) had threatened to get Ashton taken away. These weren't just little pranks. They were trying to get him arrested," Lundeby said. "I sat down and talked with (Ashton) about it. He got real scared."
The case has garnered national attention following an April 29 WRAL News report in which Annette Lundeby said she believed her son was being held without due process under the USA Patriot Act. Agents, she said, ignored her.
Responding Thursday after nationwide media coverage, Capp said in a news release that the charge is unrelated to the Patriot Act, which gives federal agents more latitude in investigating suspected cases of terrorism.
Lundeby said Friday that since the story went national, the FBI has contacted her and that she is cooperating with agents in an effort to clear her son's name.
Citing a gag order and law that prohibits disclosure of information in federal cases involving juveniles, Capp, the FBI and the federal public defender initially declined to comment to the WRAL News report.