Connecticut’s chief medical examiner and the state police public information officer received calls in January and February. Others who set up charities for the Newtown victims were also targeted, police said.
Police arrested Jonathan Reich, 22, of Flushing, NY, earlier this week on a second-degree harassment charge as the suspected man responsible.
Avon police began investigating after Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver II, of Avon, contacted the department on Feb. 1 to report receiving five threatening phone calls to his unlisted phone number. The calls came in late evening on Jan. 30 and early morning on Jan. 31, according to the affidavit. Carver told police that he believed the caller was “emotionally disturbed” and said the person told him that he was “in trouble.” The calls persisted despite Carver’s requests for the individual to stop calling.
Carver told police that he didn’t feel safe at home and that he had to move his family elsewhere “until this got resolved.”
The suspect also called Carver’s Farmington office at the UConn Health Center on Feb. 6 and told a secretary to tell Carver that “he has a problem” and that he would keep calling, police said. He told her he had “proof” that Carver did not perform autopsies on the Newtown victims and that he was covering up the incident.
“This individual believes that Dr. Carver is part of a cover-up or conspiracy of some type,” police said in the arrest warrant application.
Carver examined the bodies of seven of the victims, shooter Adam Lanza and his mother, Nancy, in the investigation, according to Newtown Patch.
When police asked Reich why he made harassing calls to Carver with his cell phone, he said “I didn’t threaten anybody.” In response to an Avon detective’s question about the purpose of his calls to Carver, he said he “had his reasons” and hung up, according to police.
Police said that the suspect, in calls to Carver’s office in Farmington, seemed obsessed with “a Jewish victim of the Newtown incident” and the fact that “certain law changes might happen as a result.” Reich himself is Jewish. The suspect also referenced a Jewish individual and Sandy Hook victim in calls to Carver’s home phone, telling Carver that he was lying about the autopsy results, police said.
The caller disguised his voice and “spoofed” his phone number and the dates of the calls so that his real number would not appear on caller ID. Police were able to trace them back to Reich through confirmation with AT&T and an iPhone application called “funny” made by Spoofcard.com.
In reviewing recorded calls Reich made as provided by the spoofing company, Avon police learned that Reich had also contacted State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance “for the purposes of harassment, regarding the Newtown incident.”
Police said that people “setting up charitable organizations for victims of the Newtown incident” also received harassing calls. A Durham family that was getting the calls daily reported it to the Connecticut State Police Resident Trooper’s Office, police said.
Police said that Reich did not disguise his voice in two of the harassing calls made to others.
Days after answering questions from reporters on local and national television about his findings in the Newtown shooting case, Carver received the first call late on Jan. 30, followed by several others beyond midnight. The male caller implied “that Dr. Carver was not being truthful about the .223 round as the bullet that killed the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” police said in the affidavit. Police said that the suspect also “believes Dr. Carver was faking children’s deaths” in the Newtown shooting.
Carver told the man that “he was the person who went public with the assault weapon (.223 Semi Auto Rifle) as the gun used during the Sandy Hook shooting” and “became agitated at the repetitive nature of the calls,” police said. After Carver told the caller that he would be in trouble with police if he kept calling, the man told him “that he is the one ‘who is in trouble,'” police said.
Calls to Vance were in the same time frame, just after midnight on Jan. 31. Police said the caller began harassing Vance about the state police “waiting to search the trunk of Lanza’s vehicle and putting peoples [sic] lives in jeopardy.” Despite Vance’s request for the man to stop calling, Reich called again a second time, questioning “tactics of the Connecticut State Police regarding the Newtown shooting,” police said.
The case remains active and police are still investigating. Reich is scheduled to be arraigned in Hartford Community Court on June 5.