The University of Florida Police Department is working with the Boynton Beach Police Department to investigate a series of disturbing YouTube videos that may also be connected to a spoof Facebook page impersonating a Florida State University student.
UFPD Detective Jeff Moran said Thomas Carney III of Boynton Beach is being investigated by Boynton Beach police as well as the FBI for posting the videos.
Florida State police Deputy Chief Maj. James Russell said his department is also cooperating in the investigation due to suspicions raised by students that a Facebook profile impersonating Kyle Leonard may be connected to Carney.
Janine Sikes, the assistant vice president of UF Media Relations and Public Affairs, said UF was made aware of the investigations into Carney. Carney attended high school with current UF and FSU students who were friended by the Kyle Leonard Facebook page profile user. However, she is not aware of any direct affiliation the page’s author may have with either university.
Both Sikes and Moran said there is no immediate threat to any students on any campus.
“No direct or implied threats have been made to any of our students,” she said.
A rumor that the person behind the spoof Facebook profile may have a “kill list” was circulating via private, sorority Facebook groups; however, Russell said Florida State police believes this rumor is “unsubstantiated and not true.”
“If we thought there was some sort of a kill list or hit list or something like that, obviously, we’d go into red alert mode,” he said.
Jen Day Shaw, UF associate vice president and dean of students, and Linda Stump, UF chief of police and assistant vice president of public and environmental safety, released a statement informing students of the situation on Sept. 4.
Despite there being no apparent threat, Shaw encouraged students to practice general safety and remain vigilant due to the aggressive nature of the videos.
“The YouTube videos that were originally posted were just creepy, nasty videos,” Shaw said. “They weren’t aimed at any one particular person, but they had that feel of, you know, ‘This person might have some mental health issues.'”
The YouTube videos are no longer available for public viewing. Facebook removed the fake Kyle Leonard profile on Sept. 5 after being contacted by WUFT News.