TV station receives threatening letter; woman in custody

Saturday, April 28, 2007

ST. LOUIS -- The one-page handwritten letter to a St. Louis TV newsroom, filled with spelling and grammar mistakes, got right to the point.

"This is NOT A Joke," the letter said. "i want $10,000, or im going to kill my kids." The writer also threatened to kill an ex-boyfriend.

Authorities said Friday the letter was signed and included a return address. The 29-year-old Franklin County woman whose name was on the letter was taken into custody on unrelated traffic warrants while the investigation continues. Her children were placed in protective custody.

The woman's name was not released.

The letter arrived Thursday in the KPLR-TV newsroom and gave the station three to four weeks to come up with the money. In addition to a return address and signature, it included a Social Security number for the woman, KPLR news director Sheldon Ripson said.

Franklin County deputies and state social workers went to the address in the Sleepy Hollow Trailer Court in Villa Ridge, about 50 miles southwest of St. Louis.

Sheriff Gary Toelke said in a news release the resident's name was the same as the one in the letter, although she denied writing it. But Toelke said information obtained during the interview was enough that the children were taken from her.

Calls to Toelke were not returned. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said no charges have been filed.

Ripson said assignment editor Nancy Lee opened the letter and immediately came into his office. He contacted police.

"You see letters of various nature come in over the years, but I don't think I've ever seen one where there was a request for money tied to killing somebody," he said. "It didn't seem to me like it was anything to mess around with."

The letter writer said she was receiving child support from her ex-husband and her ex-boyfriend, but still needed money. "i might even have my X Boy friend killed too while im at it," she wrote.

The letter did not specify why the writer sought the money from KPLR.

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