PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler announced Monday morning that 26-year-old Buster Hernandez, a Bakersfield, California resident, has been charged in connection to the cyber threats that led to school and commercial closures in the Plainfield area in December of 2015.
Hernandez, who online went by the alias “Brian Kil,” is charged with threats to use an explosive device, threats to injure and sexual exploitation of a child.
Documents state Hernandez would use various social media accounts and as “Brian Kil” send random individuals (typically minors) by sending private messages, and saying, for example, “Hi, (victim’s name), I have to ask you something. Kinda important.” He would then proceed to ask the potential victim, “How many guys have you sent dirty pics to cause I have some of you?”
While some would ignore the message, those who would respond would be extorted to send more pictures or videos or he would threaten to send the nude/sexually explicit videos or photos to the potential victim’s friends and family.
On Dec. 17, 2015, the Brownsburg Police Department contact the FBI, asking for assistance into the investigation of an individual calling themselves “Brian Kil.” “Brian Kil” was said to be attempting to extort a female minor, Victim 1, by attempting to get her to send sexually explicit videos/photos. Victim 1 is described as being less than 12-years-old.
Then after receiving photos/videos from Victim 1, and when the victim refused to cooperate any further, online threats were posted on social media by Hernandez posing as “Brian Kil” aimed at Plainfield High School, Victim 1 and some of its students, including a post on Facebook claiming that there’d be a “bloodbath” at the school.
After targeting one victim in particular for a period of 16 months, Hernandez threatened a massacre at Plainfield High School where the victim attended. One message read: “I will slaughter your entire class and save you for last. I will lean over you as you scream and cry and beg for mercy right before I slit your ear.” He also threatened violence if the police responded and made racial and homophobic slurs.
The post also stated that Hernandez had three homemade pipe bombs, two handguns and one semi automatic rifle in his possession.
Read the court documents below:
Those threats led officials to close all Plainfield schools on Dec. 17, during final exams leading up to students’ winter break, announcing students would return to school after the holidays. The threats came amidst similar threats made to Danville High School.
On Dec. 17, 24-Hour News 8 spoke to a number of students who were either named in the online threats or tagged in the social media posts.
On the evening of Dec. 18, The Shops at Perry Crossing, also located in Plainfield, were evacuated after receiving a threat posted on the mall’s Facebook page. Plainfield police said they believed the people responsible for the threats to Plainfield High School were also responsible for the threat made against the mall. Additional threats were made against the shopping center and a number of its retailers two days later.
After nearly a week passed without an arrest made, local authorities set up a tip line, working with the FBI to track down the person responsible for making the online threats.
On Jan. 5, federal agents served warrants related to the case at a home on Avon Avenue in Plainfield.
Then on Jan. 20, officials held a community forum to address questions and concerns related to the investigation. Court documents show Hernandez threatened a third victim into attending this community forum.
Through email, Hernandez sent her messages saying “you’re being FORCED to do what I say or else. Always remember that.”
In order to finally discover Hernandez’s IP address, the FBI inserted a small piece of code into a video which was only viewed by Hernandez.
Documents show that Hernandez lives in Bakersfield, California with his girlfriend, Kimberly Francis and her grandmother, Audrey Francis.
Investigators later witnessed Kimberly Francis, in late July 2017, consistently leaving the residence at 7 a.m. and then returning between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. She was also spotted carrying, on a regular basis, two meals from a fast food restaurant.
According to Minkler, Hernandez stated he wanted to be known as “the greatest cyber terrorist that ever lived.”