PLAINFIELD, Ind (WISH) — Town residents along Avon Avenue are especially relieved by last Thursday’s arrest of a California man accused of making online threats to blow up two Indiana high schools.
Buster Hernandez, 26, of Bakersfield, California, also is accused of extorting juvenile females for sexually explicit photos and video, federal authorities said.
Hernandez was being held Monday in California, but was expected to be sent to Indiana to face charges filed Friday of sexual exploitation of a child and threats to use an explosive device.
Hernandez is believed to have used the online moniker “Brian Kil” to contact random individuals — typically minors — through private messages and threatening to send sexually explicit images to their friends and families if they failed to send him more of the images, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
“Brian Kil” is believed to have had victims in at least 10 federal districts and has been the subject of an investigation since December 2015.
A Plainfield, Indiana, girl was threatened via Facebook in December 2015 after she refused to send sexually explicit photos of herself over the internet. The threats prompted the Dec. 18, 2015, closings of Plainfield and Danville high schools and a shopping center.
Back in 2016, the FBI conducted two raids at different homes on Avon Avenue in connection to the cyberthreats.
Monday on the avenue, neighbors seemed to be at peace for the first time since the threats surfaced in December 2015.
“It just felt weird to be outside. Kind of wasn’t safe anymore. You don’t know who your neighbors are,” Lauren Hiebert said.
Hiebert and her boyfriend, Patrick Shaffer, live on Avon Avenue. Their concerns started when the cyberthreats began.
“I kind of took it as maybe not as big as it had been. But whenever the death threats started happening, it started, it felt more real,” Hiebert said.
It became even more real to those in the neighborhood when in January 2016, the FBI raided a home right down the street from the couple.
“Looking outside and seeing so many police cars,it sort of brought about a lot of surprise, a lot of shock,” Shaffer said.
Months later in May, another raid occurred; this one was across the street and also carried out by the FBI.
“I just came back from work when it happened and was like, oh, my gosh, what is going on over here,” Hiebert said.
With the federal charges announced, neighbors now can begin to find closure.
“It brings a lot of peace of mind to my heart,” Shaffer said.
24-Hour News 8 stopped by the home of one the victims, who was in high school at the time of the threats and was the target. She didn’t want to go on camera but said she is doing well.