Tuesday, May 20 2014 3:27 PM EDT2014-05-20 19:27:34 GMT
A middle-school boy is a person of interest in the brutal attack on a woman, and some Excelsior Springs parents have expressed fears about the boy continuing to attend classes.Excelsior Springs PoliceMore >
A middle-school boy is a person of interest in the brutal attack on a woman, and some Excelsior Springs parents have expressed fears about the boy continuing to attend classes. Authorities say students and faculty are safe at the school. More >
EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, MO (KCTV) -
A 15-year-old Excelsior Springs Middle School student was arrested Tuesday afternoon at the school in connection with a brutal attack on a woman inside her home in March.
Police officers and school resource officers arrested the boy at 1:10 p.m. on a charge of first-degree assault without incident, according to a news release from the Excelsior Springs Police Department.
The boy was taken to the Clay County Juvenile Justice Center, where he was released into the care of juvenile authorities.
"Due to the suspect being a juvenile, we are unable to release any further information concerning his identity," according to a news release. "The criminal case has now been forwarded to Clay County juvenile authorities for disposition."
Because of the serious nature of the charge, it could be upgraded from juvenile court to adult felony court.
On March 20, a 43-year-old woman was attacked inside her home, and was repeatedly stabbed and suffered lacerations. She underwent surgery but has since been released from the hospital and moved from her home, which is near where the suspect lives. The boy was a classmate of her children.
The boy and his mother denied the allegations in March.
The Excelsior Springs Police Department worked with district officials to ensure the arrest was made without incident. District officials were notified about 11:15 a.m. that the arrest would be coming and that the boy would need to be summoned to the office out of the view of students.
"The arrest is a culmination of a two-month investigation that has been ongoing since the attack occurred on March 10. Most of the physical evidence has now been processed by the Kansas City Police Crime Lab, and the DNA results have helped confirm initial suspicions of the perpetrator, who was a known 'person of interest' early on in the investigation. Although we wish this case could have resulted in an arrest much sooner, it was imperative to the case that the crime lab be able to process the physical evidence and provide formal results, which takes time," according to a news release from the Excelsior Springs Police Department.
Some parents had raised concerns about the boy attending school while the investigation was continuing, but district officials said their hands were tied since his mother continued to send him to school and he had not been charged.
"I'm glad there is resolution," Superintendent John Lacy told KCTV5 on Tuesday afternoon. "Our hands were tied."
Once he is formally charged, the district's disciplinary policies will kick in. Lacy said appropriate disciplinary procedures will follow state law and district policy. Any measures taken will be confidential as required by Missouri and federal law.
The final day of classes for this school year is Friday.
"Since the date of the assault, the district has fully cooperated with the various law enforcement agencies involved with the case," according to a statement from the district. "While the case has been under investigation, the district has had no cause or legal basis to exclude any person of interest from school, and there have been no incidents that have occurred at school."
Neighbors told KCTV5 Tuesday night that they are relieved an arrest has been made.
Robert Brown and his wife came to the victim's aid after the brutal attack and may have prevented worse injury from occurring by responding to the woman's desperate cries for help. They wrapped up the woman's deep cuts to her arms, legs, neck and stomach. They tried to keep her calm until help arrived.
Brown is glad to see an arrest made, saying many residents have been on edge and haven't felt safe.
"I feel a little safer because he does live around the block," Brown said about the suspect. "He walks by here every day."
Capt. Clint Reno of the Excelsior Springs Police Department said the department was also eager to get the DNA results back and make an arrest.
"We've been so anxious to get that information and to take some sort of action. To us that was our priority to get somebody in custody for this no matter when that be," he said. "And you know we're sorry that is inconvenient to the school, but this needed to happen."
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