UPDATE: Mom suspects Patriot Act violated son’s rights; U.S. attorney disagrees
SOUTH BEND — A 16-year-old is in federal custody in South Bend, accused of committing a crime hundreds of miles away. But the teen’s mother believes the alleged threats may have been made from a hacked computer. She says clearing her son’s name hasn’t been easy.
The Patriot Act, passed after the 9/11 attacks, enhanced the government’s ability to prevent and investigate suspected cases of terrorism.
In a statement, the U.S. attorney in Northern Indiana says the teen is facing charges unrelated to the Patriot Act.
Regardless, the teen’s case is drawing attention from national media, congressional leaders, and hundreds of others, wondering if the justice system’s response was appropriate.
Two things make up a large part of Annette Lundeby’s life.
First, it’s numbers:
761 = The number of miles from Granville County, North Carolina to South Bend.
13 = The number of hours it would take to drive that distance.
62 = The number of days, and counting, since Annette’s son Ashton was arrested and placed in federal custody.
“They said he was being arrested for numerous bomb threats,” said Lundeby.
Now, this mother wants answers and due process for her son, who is accused of directing bomb threats to Purdue University and other schools.
Lundeby told a reporter from WRAL, our CBS sister station in Raleigh, that no items were found during the agents’ search.
“No bomb making materials, not even a blasting cap, not even a wire,” said Lundeby. “They didn’t find anything.”
Since that March evening when FBI agents raided her home and took her son into custody, he spent a few nights in a Raleigh jail, then he was brought to South Bend’s Juvenile Justice Center, where he’s been ever since.
Lundeby said she has kept in contact with her son, most recently through a phone conversation on Sunday.
Lundeby said she’s planning to attend her son’s next scheduled hearing.
The U.S. attorney in Northern Indiana says the charge Lundeby’s son faces is unrelated to the Patriot Act, but she disagrees.
And her message is being heard online, and on air.
“I was listening to a radio talk show,” said Johnny Vinson of South Bend. He did not know Lundeby until hearing her story.
Now, he’s a local supporter.
“I gave her a call and said, ‘I can be your voice here in South Bend,'” said Vinson.
Helping her efforts to give Ashton a fair chance.
“She has bigger fish to fry,” said Vinson. “She’s facing the federal government.”
“Never in my worst nightmare did I ever think that it would be my own government that I would have to protect my children from,” said Lundeby.
THe U.S. attorney said in his statement the extensive investigation was a collective effort from the federal and state authorities.
Ashton Lundeby’s next hearing is scheduled Friday, May 22, and a motion was filed with the court to try Lundeby as an adult.