Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Crawford County Substitute Teacher Sentenced to Ten Months in Federal Prison for Sending Hoax Bomb Threats to Two Indiana Schools and A Newspaper

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana

NEW ALBANY- Mary Fortner, 35, of Milltown, Indiana, has been sentenced to ten months in federal prison after pleading guilty to two-counts of making hoax bomb threats.

According to court documents, on January 19, 2023, Mary Fortner sent a bomb threat to a Milltown, Indiana, police officer using an anonymous messaging application. The threat targeted a Crawford County school, where she was employed as a substitute teacher at the time.

That same day, FBI agents and Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputies interviewed Fortner at her residence and executed a search warrant, recovering her cell phone and other devices. During multiple interviews with law enforcement officials, Mary Fortner denied any knowledge of the bomb threat.

On February 21, 2023, Fortner sent an email to the Corydon Democrat, a local news outlet in Corydon, Indiana, again threatening to bomb a list of several addresses, including Milltown Elementary School in Milltown, Indiana and the Corydon Cinemas.

Later that evening, the HCSD executed a search warrant at the Fortner’s residence and took her into custody. The FBI determined that the threat came from a mobile device that had been factory reset in attempt to conceal the crime.

“This series of bomb threats shook the sense of safety that all of our children, teachers, and families deserve—and are especially egregious coming from an adult trusted to educate our children,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers. “These hoax threats needlessly caused an urgent and expansive law enforcement response. I commend the FBI, Harrison and Crawford County Sheriff’s Departments, and the Milltown Police Department for working together to quickly identify the perpetrator. The federal prison sentence imposed here demonstrates that threats of violence and terror are serious crimes that will not be tolerated in our communities.” 

“The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department would like to thank all the departments involved in resolving this case.,” said Crawford County Sheriff, Jeff Howell. “School safety should be a high priority for all agencies. Our nation’s youth is our greatest treasure. A special thanks to the Assistant U.S. Attorneys and federal agencies for their work ensuring that justice was served.”

The FBI, Crawford and Harrison County Sheriffs’ Offices, and Milltown Police Department investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge, Sarah Evans Barker. Judge Barker also ordered that Fortner be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for three years following her release from federal prison, the first two months to be served on home detention.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Rinka and Kathryn Olivier, who prosecuted this case.



Contact: Kelsie Clayton

Communications and Community Outreach Officer

Updated September 18, 2023