Texas teen faces terrorism charge for threatening to spread coronavirus, police say
Police in Texas are searching for an 18-year-old girl who claimed in a series of Snapchat videos to have tested positive for and to be “willfully spreading” the coronavirus.
The teenager, identified by police in Carrollton, near Dallas, as Lorraine Maradiaga, faces a charge of making a terroristic threat.
“We have no confirmation Maradiaga is actually a threat to public health,” police said in a statement Sunday. “We are, however, taking her social media actions very seriously.”
Jolene DeVito, a Carrollton police spokeswoman, said it is unclear when the videos were recorded.
“People started tagging us and sharing the videos on Saturday,” DeVito said.
One of the videos circulating on social media is believed to have been taken at a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site, DeVito said. In it, a health care professional can be heard telling Maradiaga that she needs to go home and wait for test results.
Another video shows Maradiaga at a store, DeVito said.
“I’m here at Walmart about to infest every motherf——, because if I’m going down, all you motherf—— are going down,” she says in the video, according to DeVito.
Another video later shows Maradiaga in a car, coughing into the camera.
According to DeVito, in a subsequent video, Maradiaga said: “If you want to get the coronavirus and f—–‘ die, call me. I’ll meet you up and I will shorten your life.”
Police attempted to reach Maradiaga at her home Sunday but were unsuccessful.
“Her family has been cooperative with us, but she was not home at the time,” DeVito said.