MCARTHUR — The Vinton County Prosecutor Jim Payne has filed a second degree felony charge against a man allegedly involved in the Oct. 8 closure of the Vinton County Local School District.

The school district closed Friday after receiving a report from the Vinton County Sheriff’s Department that drug drops would occur at the high school and that weapons may be present.

The sheriff’s department allegedly received the tip from Michael Murphy, 56, of McArthur, on Oct. 7, who now faces a charge of inducing panic. Murphy could face a maximum of 12 years in prison if convicted.

Murphy was taken into custody Friday afternoon. Prosector Payne said in a Facebook post Friday that he recommended a $75,000 bond due to the seriousness of the charge, adding that a preliminary hearing on the matter is expected to take place within 10 days.

“Any threats to children and/or to schools will always be take seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Payne wrote. “Please rest assured that this threat is over and the situation under control.”

“The superintendent was correct to shut down the school,” Payne said Monday. “But, we never thought there was an actual harm. But, you can’t take any chances.”

In the Facebook post on Friday, Payne wrote that Murphy had a history of calling the Vinton County Sheriff’s Department, as well as several government buildings such as the Ohio Governor’s Office and the Vinton County Court. Oftentimes, Murphy made allegations of corruption among various elected officials during those phone calls, Payne wrote.

“Please rest assured that this threat is over and the situation under control,” he wrote. “There is no cause to believe that parents, custodians, and school personnel need to worry about their safety or that of their children from this incident.”

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