February 11, 2020 7:50 p.m. UPDATE: PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler told 59News charges have not been filed yet in the Wyoming County hanging drawing case.
Sitler said they have several persons of interest. He also said at least 20 people can be seen on security video going into the locker room.
Sitler also told 59News, there is the possibility that if the person who committed the crime is a minor, they could be tried as an adult and face hate crime charges,. If tried as a minor, they could face court supervision until their 21st birthday.
UPDATE 1/30/2020 3:30 P.M. PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler confirmed he will be taking over the case involving an incident at Wyoming East High School.
Last week, Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Cochrane determined it was best to have law enforcement outside of the county investigate this case. The West Virginia State Police Nicholas County detachment is now handling the investigation.
UPDATE 1/27/2020 2:50 P.M.
OCEANA, WV (WVNS) — The Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney released a statement about the following incident that happened at Wyoming East High School.
“On Jan. 17, 2019, a young man from Westside High School walked into the visitors locker room at county rival Wyoming East High School for a basketball game and was met with deplorable and despicable drawing with his name attached to it. Since this was discovered, widespread outrage and concern not only has swept thru our small Wyoming County, communities but state and nationwide as well,”
For the remaining of statement you can see below.
A mother in Wyoming County claims her son was the target of a “racial threat” at Wyoming East High School. Now, she is demanding action from the school and law enforcement.
“He shouldn’t have to go through this just to get an education,” said Erica Ayers.
Ayers said her son discovered the drawing in the locker room at Wyoming East High School when he was there to play basketball on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. Her son is mixed-race and plays for Westside High School.
The drawing includes her son’s name, with an arrow pointing to the stick figure.
“It was a racial threat of him hanging from a noose and to me…they crossed a line,” said Ayers.
She reported the drawing to authorities. Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney, Mike Cochrane, said deputies are investigating.
“We have a senior officer with Wyoming County Sheriffs Department who is looking into the investigation, he’s going to pull all the videos and do an intensive investigation,” Cochrane explained.
The Wyoming County Board of Education released a statement that said these drawings and their origin will be investigated, and any necessary action will be taken. Ayers claimed this was not the first time her son was targeted while playing basketball at the school.
“Last year, before we were heading to East, I received a phone call that a video had surfaced on Snapchat and it was kids chanting ‘Hang Jace! Hang Jace!,” said Ayers.
She said she feels administrators failed her son by letting that behavior continue. She wants better for her kids, better for the school system, and better for the community in which she grew up.
“There is no room for being racist or bigots in this town.. I mean something has to change,” said Ayers.
Wyoming County Schools takes all reports of bullying or harassment, of any kind, very seriously. We have Zero Tolerance for any form of bullying or harassment. These drawings and their origin will be investigated, thoroughly, and any necessary action will be taken.Official Statement from the Wyoming County Board of Education