A prank to commemorate the end of the school year turned grotesque Tuesday when staff and students at Troy High School arrived to find three dead animals nailed to trees and a fourth disemboweled and thrown in the campus swimming pool, police said.
Investigators took a 17-year-old student into custody and are looking for seven other youths believed to be involved in the incident, Fullerton Police Sgt. Glenn Deveney said. All except one are juniors and seniors at Troy, he said.
Deveney said investigators were looking for a 19-year-old man who is not a student for questioning in the incident. The man being sought and the teen in custody are both from Yorba Linda. Police believe the other accomplices live in Buena Park and Fullerton, Deveney said.
The teens are suspected of nailing a cat, a kitten and a puppy to three trees, Deveney said. The kitten was beheaded, he said. In addition, a possum, its entrails exposed, was thrown in the pool. All of the animals were dead before they were desecrated, police said.
Because there is no law against desecrating a dead animal, investigators said the teens are expected to be charged only with vandalism and trespassing. “We have the identities of all of them. Now, it’s only a matter of finding the extent of their responsibility and going to arrest them,” Deveney said.
According to a police report, the animal carcasses were taken out of a freezer at a veterinary clinic near Imperial Highway and Bastanchury Road on Sunday night when the clinic was closed. The teens decided on the prank as a way “to be remembered for the end of the school year,” Deveney said.
Instead, the other students reacted with shock and concern.
Malko Izurieta, 15, said he was sickened by the incident. “I just think it’s sick. It’s totally cruel,” he said.
School officials also were shocked by the incident, said Ron Anderson, assistant to the superintendent of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District.
“It was supposed to be a prank, but that’s certainly not how the kids are going to remember it,” Anderson said. He said that students have expressed concern about the negative attention the incident will attract for the school, which won the National Science Olympiad trophy last month.
“Up until now, it has been a very successful school year. Our students are the national champions in the Science Olympiad and that’s how they want to be remembered this year,” Anderson said.
School district officials said the students involved in the incident face suspension and the possibility of expulsion, but not until a thorough investigation is completed.