N E W S R E L E A S E
Jan. 10, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stephen A. Rubino, Major
Newport News woman charged in JCC TJ Maxx bomb threat incident
On Jan. 10, James City County Police arrested Jessica Ann Ray, 26 of Newport News. She was charged with making a bomb threat and three counts of felony child neglect. She is being held at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail without bond.
At 5:35 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 8, the James City County Police and Fire Departments responded to the Monticello Shopping Center for a report of child neglect and a bomb threat. A witness in the parking lot heard an infant crying and observed a woman place the infant on the ground underneath a delivery van. The witness began to interact with the woman. When he picked up the infant she began screaming, “He will kill us, you must put him back!” She then tried to take the infant from the witness. He refused to give the child back and called 911.
The woman ran into TJ Maxx screaming that the store was going to blow up in 29 seconds. The woman then ran into the back storeroom and began climbing the shelves. She repeatedly screamed that the store was going to blow up and then ran out the front door where she was confronted by police officers. She began disrobing and struggled with the officers but was restrained and taken into custody.
The JCCFD and Fire Marshal’s Office responded and the store was evacuated. Members of the Newport News Fire Department Bomb Squad and FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force responded to assist with the search of the building. The store was declared safe after no explosives were found.
Investigation revealed that the woman had been acting strangely in the Burger King across the parking lot with two other small children ages 5 and 6 who she abandoned prior to putting the infant under the delivery van. The woman is reportedly a family friend of the children and was babysitting them while their mother was nearby at a hairdresser’s appointment. None of the three children were injured and were released to their mother at the scene. A police officer received minor injuries to his leg during the scuffle with the woman but did not require medical treatment.