League City increases police presence at schools in response to concerns about missing teens from Wyoming

The League City Police Department said it has found no credible threats related to the 16-year-old boys who allegedly stole two guns and a car last week before fleeing their hometown in Wyoming. But the Houston-area suburb is still beefing up security at its schools this week in response to concerns among community members.

League City Police Vehicle
League City Police Department
An officer for the League City Police Department drives in a patrol vehicle.

As authorities in Wyoming continue their search for a pair of 16-year-old boys suspected to have left their hometown with stolen guns and a stolen car, police in a Houston-area suburb more than 1,400 miles away are on high alert – even though they say they have found no credible threats to their community.

The League City Police Department, in response to what its top official described as a "state of panic" amidst viral social media posts and news reports from around Texas and the rest of the country, is increasing patrols and security this week at all the schools and daycare facilities within its jurisdiction. Information originating from law enforcement in Wyoming suggested that Otis Edlund and Quintin Wyrick, who were reported missing last week and subsequently suspected to be in possession of an AR-15 rifle and 12-gauge shotgun, might have had plans to travel to League City and commit an act of violence.

But Jose Ortega, a spokesperson for the police department, said Monday it has found no credible information indicating that League City or any of its schools are being targeted by the two teenagers, adding, "We have no further information that they've actually even left Wyoming."

"With social media and the rumor mill began spreading, we know our citizens and their concerns, so we felt like it would be best that we have all the schools in our city covered with officers and extra security protocols in place," Ortega said. "The plan is to continue that until either they've been located or any further information is revealed. As of right now, we don't have anything further on the actual matter at hand with the boys in Wyoming."

Starting Monday, all 32 private schools and daycares in League City, a town of about 115,000 residents located roughly 25 miles southeast of Houston, will have police officers on their campuses during peak hours, police chief Cliff Woitena wrote in a Sunday post on Facebook. He said officers also will be on hand at all the Clear Creek ISD and Dickinson ISD schools in League City, through partnerships with the League City Fire Marshal's Office, Dickinson Police Department, Galveston County Sheriff's Office and Galveston County Precinct 4 Constable's Office.

According to Duane Kaiser, a spokesperson for the Lander Police Department in Wyoming, Edlund and Wyrick were initially reported missing last Thursday. Within 30 minutes, Kaiser said, the department received a report that the two teens allegedly stole from family members the aforementioned guns as well as a 1969 white Chevrolet Chevelle convertible with a black vinyl top and black stripes down the sides of the car.

Kaiser said Monday the boys' last known location was in Alcova, Wyoming, early Friday morning, based on a ping from one of their cell phones.

Kaiser said a bulletin released by the Lander Police Department said the teens were possibly traveling to Texas while noting that "Edlund purportedly texted a friend about shooting up a preschool in Texas and then killing himself." The bulletin released by the department made no mention of a specific location in Texas, Kaiser added.

But a similar bulletin that has been circulating on social media cites League City as a potential destination for the teenagers while also including the name of a girl believed to be associated with them. Ryan Cox, a commander for the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, confirmed Monday that a bulletin mentioning League City was created but said that was based on preliminary information and intended to be shared only within law enforcement agencies, adding that version "was not supposed to be released" to the general public.

"If we had the means to tell everyone to quit sharing it, that's what we would do," Cox said. "We don't have the time or the ability to do that as this was information we didn't intend to frighten the public with."

Woitena, while announcing there would be an increased police presence at League City schools, also sought to calm community fears. He wrote that the female acquaintance of the Wyoming teenagers, who was mentioned in the version of the police bulletin that cited League City, has an aunt and cousin who live in League City who have been cooperative with police.

"Neither of those League City community members have any relationship with the boys, nor would those boys be welcome at their home," Woitena wrote. "The storyline of violence against a school was derived from a comment made approximately six months ago concerning school shootings but was not a documented direct threat against our schools or community. Too many people are taking small parts of this story and building a very intriguing storyline, but the tale has no credible source."

Kaiser, with the police department in Lander, Wyoming, said it has received no new information about the teenagers or their whereabouts since Friday morning.

"We obviously hope that this ends peacefully," said Cox, whose state agency in Wyoming helps disseminate information to law enforcement and the public. "Frankly, I hope that it ends soon with them being located and safely taken into custody."