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Deltona man accused of threatening family of late cancer patient, Purdue superfan

'I will appear like the reaper,' deputies say John Pinkham told mourning family

John Pinkham, 39, is accused of threatening the family of late cancer activist Tyler Trent. (Image: FDOC)
John Pinkham, 39, is accused of threatening the family of late cancer activist Tyler Trent. (Image: FDOC)

DELTONA, Fla. – Officials with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said they have arrested a Deltona man accused of threatening to kill family members of Tyler Trent, the well-known 20-year-old former Purdue University student and cancer patient who died last week.

Deputies said they worked with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to arrest John Pinkham, 39, on Monday.

Trent died of a rare form of bone cancer last week, reports ESPN. 

"Trent’s spirit and positive attitude during his battle with bone cancer drew national attention and helped raise more than $100,000 for cancer research through the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment and The V Foundation," the Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

Deputies said Pinkham used an alias to harass Trent's family on Facebook posts about his funeral arraignments.

"Can't wait till I can choke the life out of you," deputies said Pinkham wrote on Trent's Facebook page. "Funerals coming and I will appear like the reaper."

Detectives said Pinkham threatened to kill Trent's mother and to "make headlines." "Just watch I will be talked about forever," Pinkham wrote, adding, "This is no idol (sic) threat."

Pinkham was arrested Monday afternoon at his home on Duncan Street. He is charged with making written threats to kill or injure.

Florida Department of Corrections records show Pinkham has a previous criminal history, including 17 felony charges and five felony convictions. Most recently, he was sentenced to five years for simple battery in 2012, according to department records. He completed his probation in October 2018, according to his arrest report.

A celebration of life will be held for Trent on Tuesday. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood encouraged people to honor Trent by donating to the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment at Purdue.

Purdue Associate Athletics Communication Director Matt Rector sent Chitwood an email after the arrest thanking the Sheriff's Office for swiftly dealing with the situation.

"Thank you for dealing with what transpired over the last few days in regards to the threats against (Trent's mother) and her family. Law enforcement personnel like you and your staff are at the front line of protecting us on a daily basis," Rector said. "With one of our own, former WR and current LPD officer Danny Anthrop, watching over us here in Indiana, we certainly appreciate you and yours for everything you do. Please share this note with anyone and everyone that helped thwart this threat and spread our thanks."