A North Carolina woman is facing federal charges for making violent threats on several Indiana colleges, including IU-Bloomington; a Sky Zone; and a private residence while tormenting a Fishers family.
Shamonique Ferguson, 21, of Hamlet, North Carolina, is charged with extortionate communication, mail threats and interstate stalking, according to court documents.
“We live in times where the Internet, cell phones, and social media allow for unlimited communication with friends, family, and even complete strangers,” U.S. attorney Josh Minkler said in a press release. “When an individual elects to threaten anyone in the Southern District of Indiana, in the manner laid out in our complaint, he or she should not expect to forever hide behind the anonymity of the web.”
The primary victim met Ferguson through Facebook in 2012. After a falling out, Ferguson started harassing the victim on Facebook and Twitter and with phone calls, which caused the victim to change phone numbers and abandon contact with Ferguson. The harassment continued and escalated toward the end of 2016.
Since last December, Ferguson made numerous reports alleging the victim was planning violent attacks at IU-Kokomo, IU-Bloomington, Ivy Tech Community College and IU-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Ferguson made anonymous phone calls to IU officials and Homeland Security, according to court documents. She also sent letters and signed them with the victim’s name and address.
“I swear man I have a plan to kill everyone in this school and bomb this whole college in a week,” Ferguson wrote in a March letter.
The victim was hospitalized because of the threats Ferguson made in her name but was released when it became clear she had no violent urges and that the reports were fake.
On many occasions, Ferguson called the victim’s workplace, Sky Zone in Fishers, saying she wanted her dead.
Ferguson also made more than 24 false calls about emergencies at the victim’s home address, including calls about fires, sexual abuse and animal abuse.
She also called the national human trafficking hotline and said the victim was being trafficked by her father. Over Facebook, Ferguson said she was sending a pipe bomb to the victim’s house.
Through multiple mail services, including Shutterfly, the U.S. Postal Service and Sandboxx, Ferguson sent menacing packages and letters to the victim’s home in Fishers.
“I hope you die a slow painful death,” Ferguson wrote in one letter. “If it were up to me you wouldn’t even be alive right now.”
One package from December contained used menstrual pads, used underwear and a holiday card that read, “Ima kill yall asses drop dead bitch.” Another package from Shutterfly was addressed to the victim’s father and contained sexually explicit photos, allegedly of the victim. Although the pictures were not actually of the victim, investigators believe the intent was to embarrass her in front of her father.
In interviews with investigators, Ferguson said she was harassing the victim because “someone using (the victim’s) name had posted online messages about Ferguson, claiming she had herpes or AIDS,” according to court documents.
“That’s why I attacked her,” Ferguson said.
Although she admitted some involvement, Ferguson also implied other people were involved in the threats on the victim and also said she was under the impression the victim may have committed suicide. She has not.
If convicted, Ferguson will face 15 years in federal prison.