Crime & Safety

Missouri woman threatened to blow up church two times in less than a year; arrested and gets upgraded charges

Under Missouri law, first-degree harassment is a Class E felony that can get you up to four years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

According to a sworn probable cause statement from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), Schmidt made a specific threat against the Grace Life Church in Pevely on January 26.

The affidavit says that a church worker told investigators that on that date, they got a text message from an unknown number that said, “I will make your church go bye bye.” The employee said that the same unknown number also sent more messages that said, “It wouldn’t be the first time I make a building fall down,” and “I’ll be in the church parking lot on Sunday.”

According to the affidavit, the victim told deputies that the text messages had caused them “a lot of emotional distress,” so much so that they hired private security.

Investigators quickly looked at Schmidt as a possible suspect because, according to the document, “a similar incident happened in 2022” and Schmidt “made a similar threat using similar language.”

The affidavit says that on Jan. 27, the day after the threat, JCSO detectives recorded an interview with Schmidt in her home about the alleged threats to the chapel.

Authorities say that Schmidt “finally admitted” to sending the text message to the church worker using a messaging app on her cell phone during the interview.

“Schmidt gave permission for her cell phone to be searched, where a text messaging app was found,” JCSO officials wrote. “The phone number that was given in the texting app was the same phone number that the text message was sent from. Schmidt’s phone was taken to be used as proof.”

Schmidt was arrested and taken to the Jefferson County Jail, where she is being held without bond for the time being. She is supposed to have a bond review hearing with Judge Antonio Martin Manansala on Wednesday.

According to a report from the Jefferson County Leader, Schmidt allegedly made threats against the church in a “similar” situation in April 2022. Court records show that in November 2022, she was charged with making a terrorist threat in the second degree, which is also a Class E felony. In that case, she is due to go before Judge Manansala on Thursday.

Stephen Michael Vighi, Schmidt’s lawyer, and the Grace Life Church did not respond right away when our team asked them for comments on the case.

Read the probable cause statement below.

Jordan Collins

Jordan is an experienced editor with years in the journalism and reporting industry. He loves talking with the community about the problems local residents face and state politics. You can find him in the gym almost every day or see him jogging.

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