Ashton Lundeby Update: Less Than Meets The Eye

Earlier this week, I wrote about the story of Ashton Lundeby — a 16 year-old kid being held in Indiana in connection with an alleged bomb threat — and his mother’s allegations that he son was being detained pursuant to the PATRIOT Act.

Well, it seems that there is much less to this story than there seemed to be at first blush.

First of all, it’s quite apparent that the PATRIOT Act is not even involved in this case. Lundeby was arrested under a 70 year old law that makes it a Federal crime to use telecommunications equipment to make interstate bomb threats.

Second, it’s quite obvious that Lundeby is not the innocent 16 year-old that his mother made him out to be in initial reports:

A 16-year-old North Carolina boy arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat against Purdue University had a secret identity as a superstar in an unusual online subculture — one dedicated to making prank phone calls for a live internet audience, his mother admitted Thursday.

“I heard the prank phone calls he made,” says Annette Lundeby of Oxford. “They were really funny prank phone calls…. He made phone calls to, like, Walmart.”

Lundeby confirmed that her son was known online as “Tyrone,” a celebrity in a prank-calling community that grew late last year out of the trouble-making “/b/” board on 4chan. Using the VOIP conferencing software Ventrilo, as many as 300 listeners would gather on a server run by Tyrone to listen to him and other amateur voice actors make often-crude and racist phone calls, some of which are archived on YouTube. The broadcasts were organized through websites like

A former fan of Tyrone’s work helped lead the police to Lundeby’s son after the boy allegedly moved beyond pranks this year and began accepting donations from students eager to miss a day of school. In exchange for a little money, Tyrone would phone in a bomb threat that would shutter the donor’s school for a day.

“People would pay about five dollars, and they get to submit a number,” says Jason Bennett, a 19-year-old college student in Syndey, Australia. “It was getting way out of hand.”

Lundeby admits that her son received donations for his prank phone calls, but denies that he made bomb threats. She says her son was with her, coming home from church, at the time of the February 15 phone call that summoned a bomb squad and evacuated the mechanical engineering building at Purdue University in Indiana.

Bennett didn’t hear the Purdue call, but he says he heard Tyrone admit to that bomb threat later, and decided enough was enough. He contacted university police and began helping them get the goods on “Tyrone.”

Now this doesn’t mean that Lundeby is guilty of the charges against him, but these reports do cast serious doubts on his mother’s credibility, most especially on her assertion that her son is a victim of overzealous use of the PATRIOT Act. So, you know, sorry for jumping the gun on this story because, as Rick Sincere says, it’s pretty clear we’ve been punked.

  • Jeff Molby

    So why was his lawyer babbling about the PATRIOT act? Surely he should have known that there was little to gain by spouting complete nonsense.

  • Joan Hendrix

    What the feds did is horrendous… It is supreme abuse of the Constitution. This is what the gestapo did to the jews, catholics, blacks, etc…

    Gag orders!! NO right to an attorney that he chooses!! No warrant..

  • Doug Mataconis


    I don’t know for sure that the lawyer quoted in the original story was Ashton’s attorney, or just an “expert” that the TV station consulted in connection with the story.

    Obviously, the reporters at WRAL didn’t do their homework

  • southernjames

    But hey – why not “jump the gun” as long as if fits the narrative, right? It was more than worth it, because it gave people (like those who commented in response to your “look there’s that evil Patriot Act again – welcome to John Ashcroft’s America”) post a nice opportunity to hyperventilate. It’s a public service, really.

    Gosh what a cathartic and fulfilling emotional release THAT was. A chance to rant about the Patriot Act and John Ashcroft again. Whew. The hell with the actual, you know…what’s that word again? – oh yeah…FACTS of the situation, right?

    That hasn’t felt so good since the golden old days when ALL we heard about was now that Nazi John Ashcroft was going to go after the Librarians. Remember the Librarians? Oh the panic. The fear. The clever bumper stickers: “I wasn’t using those rights anyway.”

    Save the Librarians!!

  • Doug Mataconis


    Where is the evidence that he’s being denied access to an attorney — other than the statements from his mother, whose credibility is seriously in doubt at this point.

    I’m no fan of the Patriot Act, but this doesn’t seem to be that type of case

  • Doug Mataconis


    I’ll admit I jumped the gun on this in taking the kid’s mothers word about this story.

  • uhm

    The sad thing is that the Patriot Act part was so believable. I agree she has firmly established her lack of credibility.

  • daryl

    so, perhaps he is not as innocent as we thought. but there is STILL no excuse for the feds storming his house and terrorizing his family. they could have easily sent an officer to his house, knock on his door, and arrested him without all the gestapo tactics.

  • Big Dave

    Joan? What are you smoking? This is a loser kid from the get-go. His mom listens to him harrass innocent people (ever been on the RECEIVING end of one of these idiot phone calls?) and thinks its funny. Then she lies to the press, making up totally false stories (just like her kid, no?). What he did was illegal, and he got caught. I was listening to his family members on the radio this morning, and as the story “evolves” they admit, well, yeah, actually his mom DID get a call informing her when the hearings were…. Well, yeah, he DID make a threat and his mom told him to stop… Geez. Until I see some sort of issue where the govt is overstepping its bounds, I’m going to sit and watch this one and root for the “good guys.” (In case you’re not paying attention, that would NOT be the rude, jerk kid and his rude, jerk mommy.)

  • Brad Warbiany

    A 16-year-old North Carolina boy arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat against Purdue University

    That son of a bitch. Now it’s personal. String him up from his toenails!

  • Doug Mataconis


    If the authorities had credible evidence that he was making bomb threats, the raid becomes much more understandable.

  • over9000

    The Jews?

    The holocaust is like the cake…

  • Akston

    I remain untroubled by an assumption of innocence on the part of a citizen and a healthy dose of skepticism toward widening police powers.

    As the facts and any deceptions begin to surface, rational people do indeed adjust their perspective based on that information.

    The burden of proof is still on the state, where it should be.

  • Ken
  • southernjames

    “A 16-year-old North Carolina boy arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat against Purdue University.”

    Well, Brad, since the threat was made against our alma mater, can we assume he must have been a Left Wing Extremist? :)

    Against IU, and we’d have to be thinking – crazed tea bagger. :)

  • Pingback: 16 year-old’s mother cries wolf « East Metro Atlanta Libertarian Party()

  • Chuck Biscuits

    Annette Lundeby, has even acknowledged in interviews that her son has been formally charged, has a court-appointed attorney, and has already made appearances in front of a judge.

    As in every federal prosecution of a minor — the file is under seal. That, too, has nothing to do with USA PATRIOT: It’s a provision of federal law intended to give juvenile defendants a clean slate when they reach adulthood.

  • Kathryn Rebecca

    Excuse me while I wipe this egg off my face. I suppose if I’m going to point out all the things that our government is doing wrong, I should make sure they’re the ones doing the wrong things before commencing villification.

  • Scratch

    When the original WRAL news story first took wing, I spent a goodly amount of time elsewhere arguing that there was indeed less to the story than met the eye – and dealing with all the howls of indignation for my alleged “support” of the Patriot Act; simply because I dared question the mother’s and Dan Boyce’s claims.

    Ironic that much the same crowd who’ve railed for years against the bias of the “mainstream media” and the gullibility of “the sheeple” so eagerly swallowed this story hook, line and sinker.

    Next time a ‘news’ story leads off with how patriotic and flag-draped the alleged victim’s room is please – raise an eyebrow.

  • Kristi Gilleland

    Well, not sure what’s going on here. Does look like he has been a little snot. However, why over 2 months for a court date? Now suddenly one at the end of May.

    Could it be b/c they really were holding him under some Patriot provisions while they looked through the forensic data on his computer?

    I can’t believe his mom knew he was playing around with prank calls and on 4chan and didn’t step in. Woah. I’d hit my kid over the head if I caught him on that site.

  • Grif

    Excuse me, but why would someone need to phone in a bomb threat to get out of class at Purdue University? It’s a university, if you don’t want to go to class you don’t go – or has something changed in last few decades?

  • larney

    what a surprise…. a bunch of loser wannabe “patriots” jumping the gun just like they do about everything. “oh the new world order this, oh we are going to hit a depression that.” this is why i dont buy any of this garbage

  • JLynn Miller

    Are we missing the point here? This boy’s DUE PROCESS WAS STRIPPED! What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

    Who’s to say he wasn’t set up? It is my understanding that the real perpetrator was angry at Lundeby for not wanting to do what they wanted him to do. Yes he was wrong to do any type of prank calls and became an easy target for an an IP hacker…but kids are kids and they do things that get them in trouble. HOWEVER, this behavior DOES NOT warrant being stormed by FBI, held without due process for unlimited days, gag orders by the judge, no visits from the family, no attorney of choice, etc. Blatant abuse of our US Constitution is the way i see it!

    What are you going to do when this happens to your child and family? When your children are on the Internet anyone can hack into the home computer IP and do malicious things, especially in those households that use SKYPE. You or your child could be the next target. How do you know that this isn’t some kind of smear campaign against the private citizens using the Internet…certain entities want the Internet shut down for the private sector and available only for the corporations. How conventient it would be for the public to be scared of using their computer since they could be targeted as a terrorist now? After all you break the law if you use Google under the age of 18…they can arrest you if they want you. There are so many ways to arrest Americans as terrorists these days that it is becoming very alarming to most that are intelligent enough to figure it out.

    Now with that said, are you still willing to give up your rights for the safety of the Patriot Act that is supposed to be in place to go after REAL terrorist? Not American kids who misbehave! This kid was homeschooled, high IQ, and in Who’s Who for goodness sake! He had no previous criminal records.

    The Patriot Act IS being used in this case, read this article…

  • Chuck Biscuits

    The mom has admitted that she knew of the pranks and called them funny in interviews over the last couple of days. He was charging $5 a piece to make the bomb threats. Purdue was just the one that got him busted. He was turned in by a former fan (Jason aka Bennett) after her recorded one of his pranks. The gag order was issued and the file is under seal because of a federal law intended protect juvenile defendants. He has been formally charged and has been given an attorney. He has already made a court appearance as well. His next hearing is May 22.

    By no means do I think that the government is incapable of civil liberty abuse. However, we must follow through thoroughly before making claims. If we don’t we are being counterproductive to the cause. To illustrate the seriousness of these infringements we must present credible and verified information.

  • JLynn Miller

    Chuck Biscuits, Where’s your credible and verified proof bomb threats were made? Did Jason aka Bennett record Ashton making a bomb threat or was it prank calls with no bomb threat involved?
    Remember he is innocent until proven guilty.
    Also you are still missing the point. His due process rights were stripped.

  • Chuck Biscuits

    “Tyrone” had posted them all over his youtube channel. Youtube has since taken his videos down The violation was due to illegal activity. I heard it yesterday before they took it down. Tyrone (ashton) was also touting that he had a shotgun waiting for the man on the other end of the phone. The bomb threats were recorded by Bennett and turned over to the FBI. It’s in the link at the top of this page. “[Jason] Bennett didn’t hear the Purdue call, but he says he heard Tyrone admit to that bomb threat later, and decided enough was enough. He contacted university police and began helping them get the goods on “Tyrone.”

    The case came to a head the night of March 5, when Tyrone made a series of rapid-fire bomb threats against five different schools around the United States. Bennett recorded the calls.

    “This is a warning to every staff, student and anybody else who may be in the school tomorrow afternoon at 11:00 a.m.,” the caller is heard saying in a voicemail message for Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kansas.
    When Tyrone signed off, Bennett immediately put the recording on his own web server and provided a link to a Purdue University police detective working the case, who shared it with the FBI. Police warned the schools that very night that the calls were hoaxes, and the FBI — armed with a search warrant and a criminal complaint — swooped in on Annette Lundeby’s home at 10:00 p.m., seized computers and arrested her son.”

    His mother has also confirmed his identity a subsequent interviews. She was on the Alex Jones show and said “” He has had a lawyer and has made an appearance in front of a judge. This is all according to his Mom. How is his due process being stripped? The only basis for anyone citing this as under the Patriot Act is the remarks his mom made. Check the updates at the top of the page in your earlier provided link and you will understand what I am talking about.

    They didn’t need the patriot act. The crime he has been accused of has been illegal for 70 years. Much of the hype that is behind this case is due to the fact that there isn’t a lot of information being released. That is because cases involving minors are sealed. It’s been that way long before the Patriot Act.

  • Scratch

    JLynn – don’t confuse “innocent until proven guilty” with “held pending trial”. You keep talking about due process not being followed, but you’ve not explained what exactly you’re referring to.

  • JLynn Miller

    Yes and you keep dodging my questions.

  • jason

    The mother’s credibility has nothing to do with this.

    The kid was not given due process that we all have a right to under the CONSTITUTION!

  • jason

    hes under 18….WHY THE FUCK IS HE IN JAIL????

    there’s your due process being stripped…. DUH

  • pavilion

    Where’s the right to a speedy trial?
    Where’s the right of habeas Corpus?
    Where’s the right for his mother to see the charges against him.
    Most of saw that attorney online saying, this was the patriot act being invoked.
    Why is there no bail?
    Was there bail offered after all?
    And why is this case gagged?

    No patriot act? common. prove it.

  • jason


    ohhh…so scared of a little bomb threat




    i hope someone throws your child in jail for “violation of free speech” and see who’s side you are on now..





  • jason


    protect yourself pussies

    quite relying on the government

  • jason



    quit relying on the government

  • Merf

    Tone it down, Jason. If you have something to add, say it, but no more abusive rants, please.

  • JLynn Miller

    As a parent with children that uses the Internet I am concerned that anyone with the knowledge or passwords could have hacked into the “Tyrone” profile and made those bomb threats. Does anyone have proof that the threat was his actual voice? AND the time of the threat?

    I think of all those accounts set up with SKYPE phone service. Wow someone could hack into their account and make bomb threats! This scares me more than anything! Plus the fact this boys’ Constitutional rights are infringed upon.

    IP hacking happens. Look it up. It is my understanding the threat happened during the time that the boy was not at home. The mother says he was “setup”. I am not going to make harsh judgements about what happened by something I watch on Youtube. If he did do these things, then he STILL deserves habeous corpus.

    If Ashton was being treated as a juvenile then why did they put him in a cell with adult men the first night he was detained? (according to his mother)

    I concur with pavilion and jason on this matter, where are the boy’s rights! We are still living by the U.S. Constitution.

    The lawyer was appointed by the judge the next morning at 10:00 am. (according to the mother, she wasn’t allowed time to contact a lawyer) The mother also mentions on the Alex Jones that an FBI agent blatantly said to the judge when he asked about hacking that IP address cannot be hacked into. That is a lie.

    I just keep thinking this could be my kid or
    your kid or any American kid being set up and accused as a terrorist.

  • Chuck Biscuits

    The questions have been answered and apparently ignored. He is being held at a federal JUVENILE facility in Indiana. They had a warrant, something Annette Lundeby has never denied. The case is sealed because he is a minor. He was given an attorney and has already made a court appearance (speedy trial). He is scheduled for another one on May 22. These are all confirmed facts by the Mother.

    His youtube channel,4chanvent, was available for everyone to hear until yesterday. His threats were very clear. His mother has already came forward and admitted she knew her son was making the pranks and that his identity was Tyrone. He has a long history of posting his antics on youtube. This certainly isn’t the first time.

    pavilion, it has been proven sufficiently. Whereas the only bit of evidence you have to offer as the Patriot act is the kids mom and her unfounded and probably desperate speculation. Less than a month for a court appearance is not unreasonable. He has been brought to a court ensuring his habeas corpus. Bail is a decision made by the judge and has nothing at all to do with the Patriot act. Most of what you saw was poor reporting fueled by viral hysteria. I believe if you go back and recheck your sources most of them have either recanted or apologized for jumping the gun.. like this article has done.

    I admire the Ashton’s entrepreneurial spirit. But cash for bomb threats is not the way to go.
    You can actually hear Tyrone making his bomb threats here: . I’m counting the seconds until Ashton admits that it is his voice (since they match up perfectly with the voice his mom has heard him use before) and he cops a plea.

    If you would like to hear more of Tyrone they are being hosted on other youtube accounts.
    Have a ball.

    BTW you guys getting hysterical over a crime that has been law for over 70 years actually takes away from the real civil liberties violations that happen everyday.

  • Will W.

    I don’t care about this stupid 16YO kid, it looks like he’s got prison time coming and the little wingnut deserves it.

    The PROBLEM is the so-called patriot act and all of the crap that’s still going that I thought was going away after the election. I feel we’ve been ripped off.
    a)are our soldiers still in Iraq?
    b)our solidiers still in Afganisgan?
    c)gasoline prices going way way back up?
    d)Wall Street getting tons and tons of money?
    e)Haliburton getting fresh new government contracts?
    f)WHY IS THE “PATRIOT ACT” still on the books?
    g)ETC, ETC, ETC!!!!!!!!!!

    All of the abouve is the doings of the Bush/Cheney Stooge Team, and I figured McCain would have keept it the same.


  • JLynn Miller

    Ok I listened. I am not convinced that it was Ashton. Ashton would have a southern accent like his mother. Just have the sound recording of someone doing bomb threats isn’t proof enough.
    I can’t believe people are so gullible to believe this crap about the recordings being Ashtons. The mother says he didn’t do it…I believe her. If that makes me hysterical…I stand proud. There is absolutely no proof in these recordings that they are this boy.

    I forgot to mention. Ashton was not only placed in a holding cell with adult men (several of them) but was stripped down to his underwear and left like this overnight. (According to his Mother) Yey we are really protecting minors!

  • SC

    Ummm…”stripped to his underwear”? Probably not – probably given a set of prison coveralls to wear. Again, sounds like you’re swallowing the mom’s hyperbole hook, line and sinker. And the kid is 16, old enough to drive and in some states get married,so it’s not as if they threw a ten year old in there.

    I’m curious, JLynn – what standard of proof would YOU need in order for this kid to be arrested? Because it sounds to me like the only standard you’d accept would be if he was caught while actually in the process of making one of the calls (and maybe not even then). Do you have the same standard for murder? Does someone have to be caught elbow deep in their victim before they can be even be detained?

  • JLynn Miller

    My previous comments stand as is.

  • JLynn Miller

    Here are more facts:
    Purdue University is on Eastern Standard time all year long according to their application:

    “if the time of the supposed threat (9:05 pm) and the place (Purdue University in West Lafayette) are correct, then the alibi is even stronger than…[claimed], since West Lafayette, IN, is on Eastern Time (as is the rest of Indiana with the exception of some counties in the southwest and northwest corners).” (Source:Dauvit Balfour,William Grigg,

    Ashton was at a church meeting at 9:05 eastern standard time, he has numerous witnesses!

    “Ashton had an alibi so tight it could be used as a space capsule: On the evening in question he was at a meeting held in the Union Chapel Methodist Church in Kittrell, North Carolina until after 9:00 p.m. local time, a fact that could be confirmed by interviewing any of several dozen witnesses.” according to William Grigg,

    To SC, I believe in a strong alibi! This kid has it. He didn’t make the bomb threats…he was in a meeting at church during the time the threats were made.

    SC,If someone is arrested for murder and has a sound alibi then I feel he is innocent of that crime. Better start looking elsewhere.

    The proof I would need is this, the boy would have to be at his place of residence to send the bomb threats from his computer at the time the threat happened…he WAS not logged on to his computer at 9:05 eastern standard time when the bomb threat was made. Simple as that. How do you suggest he was at two places at once?

    I am sure a good polygraph test would be in order to see if the boy is being dishonest about being stripped down to his underwear and left that way. I guess you don’t want to believe that he was placed in a holding cell with 30 adult men either…I bet a few of these men could shed some light on what they saw.

    I only hope the mother can find a good U.S. Attorney that can represent her son.

    Ashton needs to be freed IMMEDIATELY!!!!

  • JLynn Miller

    The attorney who has been appointed to Ashton Lundeby by the federal govt.
    made this statement, according to Ms. Lundeby.
    “So What”! “So What”! If it’s under the Patriot Act! Who cares!”

    Listen folks,
    This is a beta test to see if Americans are going to tolerate their children to be incarcerated without due process under the Patriot Act or Title 18 or whatever law they want to pin it on. This child is innocent, he has a sound alibi with several witnesses at the alleged time of bomb threat.

    Ms. Lundeby is not only fighting for her child, she is fighting for all of our children!

    She is in dire need of a competent attorney who specializes in federal law.

    Please donate whatever you can afford to help free Ashton. Her deceased husband was a veteran, since Ashton’s arrest much of her benefits have been stopped by the feds. She is needing help to hire an attorney of her choice.

    Please send your donations to help pay for an attorney for Ashton to the following address:
    Thank you.

    Annette Lundeby
    % Free Ashton Lundeby
    5579 Farmington Drive
    Oxford, North Carolina

  • SC

    Hey JLynn,

    Earlier in the thread you posted a link to the original article by William Norman Grigg as evidence. Check the link again, it’s been updated:

    And also check the follow-up:

    Also note that he has had at least three hearings in court and has had legal representation.