Threatening messages to daycare, school earns probation

·3 min read

A woman who sent threatening messages that forced a series of lockdowns and evacuations of a daycare and school in College Heights has been sentenced to two years probation.

Emily Marie Holland, 24, must also issue formal apologies to the students, parents and staff at Kool Kats Kid Care and Polaris Montessori School and to the Prince George RCMP for the trouble she caused.

According to an agreed statement of facts, on March 8, 11 and 12, 2019, Holland used the Crime Stoppers mobile web browser to send three anonymous messages threatening to "open fire" at the daycare and school.

In the third message, Holland said "all six workers at Kool Kats will be dead by the end of the week." That led RCMP to believe the suspect had a "direct connection" to the daycare.

Then, on March 19, 2019, a fourth threat was made through the same Crime Stoppers portal and this time, police were able to trace the origin of the message back to the daycare.

Holland was determined to have been one of two employees who were in the building at the time and both of their mobile phones could connect to the Kool Kats modem. A search of the co-worker's browser history turned up nothing of interest while Holland's browser history had been wiped clean.

Finally, on March 20, 2019, Holland sent a fourth message, this time apologizing to the RCMP and saying she is a "lonely lady who needs mental help."

"I haven't received any mental help but I have wasted the RCMP's time threatening the school and the daycare across from me," Holland said.

The origin of that message was traced back to Holland's home and she was arrested and charged. Holland subsequently pleaded guilty to four counts of uttering threats.

Speaking on behalf of Holland, defence counsel Rob Climie said his client was going through a "great deal of stress" at the time. She had been embroiled in a bad relationship through which she had been coerced into stealing from a previous employer, a friend had committed suicide the month before and she had just learned she was pregnant. Finally, Holland was at odds with management at Kool Kats over the treatment she said she had been receiving at the hands of coworkers.

Looking back, Holland knew she could simply have quit her job, a move she was planning to make anyway, and deeply regrets her actions, the court was told.

Holland has since moved away from Prince George, has lived up to the terms of her bail conditions and has abstained from alcohol and drugs since the events, the court heard.

In issuing the sentence, Provincial Court Judge Mike Brecknell agreed to a joint submission from Crown and defence counsels but also had some words for Holland. He suggested parents, students and staff had visions of the mass shootings at schools in the United States running through their minds when the lockdowns and evacuations occurred. Holland "caused an enormous amount of disruption and anguish and pain to a lot of people," Brecknell concluded.

Terms of her probation also include taking two courses related to mental health and coping skills in her new community and completing 20 hours of community service work.

Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen