By Ron VandenBoom
by Ron VandenBoom
The Havre Daily News
Thursday, May 13
The FBI investigation into the Amtrak scare on Feb. 20 that stranded approximately 350 passengers in Havre for 17 to 19 hours continues, FBI officials in Salt Lake said.
George Dougherty, media representative for the department, said Wednesday that no arrests have been made in the case that is now about three months old and the department is still following up on leads.
Its one of those things where you have to put a lot of the pieces together, Dougherty said.
A call placed by an unknown party or parties to an Amtrak office in California began the ordeal that sent law enforcement agencies, HAZMAT teams, and emergency personnel scrambling to locate radioactive material that the caller claimed were on the train.
No hazardous materials were found during a search of the passengers and trains.
Dougherty, who said in March the FBI believed this threat was unique and probably an isolated incident because it did not fit an already existing profile of known serial criminals, backed away slightly from that position Wednesday.
Dougherty said a similar incident had occurred one year earlier, almost to the day, in Wolf Point.
The Roosevelt County Sheriffs office confirmed to the Daily News that an incident had occurred on Amtrak, but was unable to provide any details.
Darla Smith, office manager at the Herald News in Wolf Point did confirm that a bomb threat had been received by Roosevelt County authorities on Feb. 17, 1998, exactly one year and three days earlier than the threat that stopped the two trains in Havre.
The Wolf Point threat, according to Smith, was also phoned into a distant Amtrak station at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday morning just about the time the Herald News was about to go to press.
The person making the call, Smith said, indicated the bomb was on the westbound passenger train located somewhere between Williston N.D. and Havre.
Wolf Point just happened to be the place they pulled the train over, she said.
Smith could not remember what Amtrak station received the call, but she was sure the threat had not been made locally.
Dougherty said he continues to have faith in the FBIs ability to find the person or persons that made the Havre threat and is cautious about directly linking the incident in Wolf Point to the incident in Havre.
Were very confident in our ability to solve this kind of crime, Dougherty said.