Student journalists interviewed UK threat suspect…before arrest

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)-Many UK students, parents, and staff members are still on edge after threats started circulating Wednesday on social media.

Overnight, UK Police, with help from the FBI, arrested sophomore Haily Duvall, a 19-year-old, who is also a part time employee at UK HealthCare.

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According to officers, Duvall not only made threats against White Hall Classroom Building, but she was also the person who first reported the threats to police, and that’s not all.

Duvall also spoke to several local journalists, including reporters at the student paper The Kentucky Kernel. 

Usually, the paper comes together in between classes.

Thursday, many of the Kernel’s journalists don’t have class. Several of their teachers cancelled.

“A lot of them have said, over our own messaging systems there through campus, ‘Hey, if you don’t feel safe, don’t show up. It’s not a problem,” Rick Childress, the Kernel’s News Editor, said.

Early Thursday morning, with help from the FBI, UK Police arrested sophomore Haily Duvall, accusing her of making threats on Snapchat.

Several students say they saw the threats on Snapchat’s map function near White Hall Classroom Building. One of the snaps said, ‘White hall is about to be white ashes…'”

Just hours before police arrested Duvall, junior Lauryn Haas reached out to her for an interview.

Haas says she was posting about the threats a lot on a group chat that includes more than 1,000 students.

“I woke up, I saw her mug shot and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I talked to her last night. I was messaging that girl,'” Haas said.

She gave Duvall’s number to Childress.

The junior says when he interviewed her over the phone she sounded articulate and matter of fact.

“She told me that she had first heard about them by she had overheard some students talking,” Childress said.

Childress and Haas say it’s weird now knowing Duvall is accused of sending the threats she seemed so concerned about.

“I just thought she was just someone who was added on Snapchat so the whole thing is crazy,” Haas said.

It’s just motivating kernel journalists even more to get the most complete story they can for their campus.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!