75ºF

'I will make headlines': Florida man threatens family of late Purdue superfan, sheriff says

20-year-old Tyler Trent died last week of bone cancer

DELTONA, Fla. – The Deltona man accused of threatening the family of Purdue University superfan who died of bone cancer last week, faced a judge on Tuesday.

John Pinkham, 39, is being held on $10,000 bond and was ordered to not have any contact with the Trent family, including the late 20-year-olds' mother.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood called Pinkham a terrible person for creating a fake Facebook persona to threaten the family on their son's Celebration of Life Facebook page.
 
"I'm just at a loss for words that we're even having this conversation. That this guy would even actually go on that website and put the family in fear," Chitwood said.
 
Some of the threats said, in part, "Just wait until y'all hear what I do at his funeral ... I promise I will make headlines. I will kill his mother."
 
Chitwood said it didn't take long for his deputies to track down the man behind the messages to a house on Duncan Street in Deltona.
 
"They began using technology to track where that message came from and they were able to ping the phone, go to the residence and they encounter our bad guy and he's got the phone in his pocket," Chitwood said.
 
Deputies said they did not find any plane tickets to Indianapolis or weapons inside the home. They arrested Pinkham who first told them he had no idea who was behind the fake name or disturbing threats.
 
"We're on three (different) stories so far in the 24 hours that he's been arrested," said Chitwood.
 
The public defender argued for Pinkham's bond to be reduced because he's been taking care of his disabled fiancée and hasn't been working since he was released from prison in September. However, the judge denied that request.
 
"I would have to have my fiancée go around and ask people to help out. I can't believe I'm in jail," Pinkham said.
 
The sheriff said he wants everyone to say a prayer and take a moment to think about the family and what Trent meant to his community.

A celebration of life was held for Trent on Tuesday. Chitwood encouraged people to honor Trent by donating to the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment at Purdue.
 
"Maybe this brings more light on to what Tyler Trent's life was all about and him wanting to raise money to beat this dreaded disease," he said.

Purdue associate athletics communication cirector Matt Rector sent Chitwood the following 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. 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."


About the Author: