BATON ROUGE, La. – Police arrested a Baton Rouge man in the bomb threat that led to the evacuation of the LSU campus earlier this week but don’t believe he is connected to threats made against three other universities recently.
William Bouvay Jr., 42, was taken into custody Tuesday night after an investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, LSU Police Capt. Cory Lalonde said.
Bouvay was not an LSU student and appeared to have no connection to the campus, Lalonde said. Officials refused to speculate on a motive, saying only that it wasn’t a national security issue.
Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of state police, referred to the phone call as a prank and said the “foolishness of an individual” affected thousands of students, parents and workers who were forced to evacuate.
Similar bomb threats were made last week at college campuses in Texas, North Dakota and Ohio.
“We don’t believe at this point that there is any connection to the bomb threats at other universities,” Lalonde said.
Lalonde said police tracked Bouvay down after determining the 911 call Monday came from a deactivated cellphone that could only make emergency calls. Investigators were able to pinpoint the location of the cell phone Tuesday and searched homes in the Baton Rouge neighborhood before identifying Bouvay as a suspect, he said.
“Upon questioning, he admitted to making the phone call,” Lalonde said.
The caller claimed multiple bombs would detonate on campus within two hours, but did not say where, authorities said, so bomb-squad officers with explosives-sniffing dogs were called in to search all buildings.
As with the threats made last week at the University of Texas, North Dakota State University and Hiram College, the search failed to turn up explosives.
According to police documents, the caller said, “Yes, I planted three bombs at LSU’s school campus,” and added, “This is not a joke.” Authorities believe he was the only person involved in the Baton Rouge scare.
Bouvay will be charged with communicating false information of a planned bombing and could face other charges, authorities said.
District Attorney Hillar Moore said Bouvay does not have a lawyer yet. Calls to a listing for Bouvay in Baton Rouge rang unanswered.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Bouvay was charged with attempted second-degree murder and domestic violence after being accused of choking his ex-wife in December 2008. He entered a guilty plea in exchange for reduced charges and probation.
Court records said his ex-wife obtained an order of protection against Bouvay that is effective until May 2013. Court documents indicate he has violated the order several times.
Bouvay was also charged with terrorizing and improper phone communication in 2004 when he called an ex-girlfriend who worked at the LSU Department of Continuing Education and Independent Studies and allegedly threatened to kill her. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he was convicted or found not guilty in the case.
Bouvay is currently being held at the parish prison in lieu of a $1 million bond.
The university was upbeat before Monday’s threat after LSU rose to No. 2 in The Associated Press college football poll with a win over Idaho on Saturday.
Officials believe a majority of the university’s 30,000 students, professors and employees were on campus when the threat was made.
Students were allowed to return to dormitories late Monday night and classes resumed on Tuesday.