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Friday, December 13, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Suspect in Lewis and Clark High School threats case is released again on bond

UPDATED: Tue., March 12, 2019

Lewis and Clark High School cyberthreat suspect Ryan Lee appears in Spokane County Superior Court last week. (Will Campbell / The Spokesman-Review)
Lewis and Clark High School cyberthreat suspect Ryan Lee appears in Spokane County Superior Court last week. (Will Campbell / The Spokesman-Review)

After a weekend in jail, 18-year-old Ryan Lee – the former student accused three separate times of threatening to shoot students at Lewis and Clark High School – is again out of custody after posting a six-figure bond.

Lee was released from the Spokane County Jail at about 10 p.m. Monday after posting $300,000 in bail. Earlier that afternoon, he appeared before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Julie McKay on accusations that he broke court-ordered release conditions that he not access the internet or social media. He was arrested Friday.

Court records say Lee had accessed his personal Instagram account, ryan_lee__9 in late January, changing the profile picture and status to say, “Don’t judge unless you know the whole truth -> Innocent until proven guilty remember that when reading the news” followed by references to Bible verses John 3:16 and Romans 10:9.

It was the third time Lee has posted bond in the two cases against him – one charge stemmed from an incident in May in which he allegedly sent sexually explicit messages to a student and threatened to “shoot up” the school. The second charge was filed earlier this year, when police linked him to another round of similar threats in November and January.

In each instance, according to police, he used an Instagram account to make the threats. The first account went by the name steven_smith_4, while a second account in November was Steven_Smith__4 – with one extra underscore between “Smith” and “4.” A third account was called dan_theman_n.

In addition to shooting threats, Lee is accused of messaging an underage female student at Lewis and Clark and sending vulgar threats to her and her family, along with pornographic images.

Spokane police served several search warrants on Lee’s family home on the South Hill, where they seized multiple computers, tablets and phones.

Last month, Lee’s attorney, Derek Reid, said officers hadn’t found any evidence linking Lee to the Instagram accounts, despite having access to his devices for almost a year.

Reid did not immediately return calls seeking comment for this story.

However, in an arrest warrant filed Friday, detectives indicate there could be a link. On March 5, Detective Jeff Barrington was reviewing images of dolphins in a pool of water on Lee’s iPhone 5, which were apparently taken or created in August 2017, that showed some semblance to a profile picture on the account “steven_smith__4.”

Barrington writes that one of the images of the ocean, dolphins and a sunset appears to be a zoomed-in image of the Instagram profile picture. Further analysis showed the metadata between the two photos matched and that the photo was created at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

“The ripples and shadows in the water around the dolphin were identical,” Barrington wrote in the warrant. “The markings and colors on the dolphin itself were identical … it was obvious that the image obtained from the Instagram account came from the image discovered on the Apple iPhone 5.”

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