Former Polk Co. teacher charged with mailing white powder, threats to schools

Polk County

Korean School Classroom

DAVENPORT, Fla. (WFLA) – A former elementary teacher at Davenport Elementary School is accused of mailing threatening letters containing white powder to three different elementary schools where she had previously taught, according to a released indictment.

Maria Lauro, 65, is facing six counts of mailing threatening communications and transmitting false information and hoaxes.

The recipients of the mailings had believed that the powder could be harmful and called for emergency assistance. Because anthrax, ricin, and other toxins can appear as a white powder, law enforcement and other first responders treated each of the mailings as hazardous and potentially lethal.

Later analysis of the powder contained in the mailings, proved that it was harmless.

If convicted on all counts, Lauro faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Health, and various HAZMAT and Fire/Rescue teams.

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