Mother protests taking of teen -- Her son, 16, is being held as a terror suspect
BY WILLIAM F. WEST
The Daily Dispatch
OXFORD ? Annette Lundeby wept as she talked about her 16-year-old son, Ashton, being held by the federal government for being a suspected terrorist.
"This is really hard," she told the Dispatch in a Thursday afternoon interview at her Granville County home. "It's just been a nightmare."
Annette Lundeby, a Kittrell native, went public with a story to Raleigh television station WRAL that was aired on Wednesday evening.
She is protesting what she claims were at least 10 FBI agents and three local law officers descending on her residence approximately 10 p.m. March 5 to arrest her son.
And she is arguing that her son is wrongly being held at a juvenile detention facility in South Bend, Ind., in violation of the Patriot Act for supposedly making a bomb threat in that city.
FBI Special Agent Wendy Osborne, spokeswoman for the bureau's Indianapolis office, told the Dispatch late Thursday afternoon that the bureau is under court order to refrain from commenting or answering any press and public questions about the case. And Osborne noted the federal government's strict rules about disclosing details regarding juvenile cases.
Annette Lundeby told the Dispatch that she recently spoke with her son over the phone and that she went to South Bend to see him late last month.
"He looked like he had aged 10 years. They had him in a really bad unit with some really bad kids. And we finally got him moved to a better unit," she said.
And Annette Lundeby broke down crying when commenting about the impact on her elderly mother. "She's on the verge of a major heart attack over it. Her blood pressure is so high," her daughter said.
Annette Lundeby, a disabled widow, lives in a modern home and has three cats.
She told the Dispatch that, on the night of March 5, she was about to go to sleep, that her son was asleep on a sofa and that her 12-year-old daughter was in bed when the knocking on the door began.
According to Annette Lundeby, the authorities arrived in unmarked cars and remained on the property until roughly 1 a.m.-1:30 a.m.
And according to Annette Lundeby, at the time of the search she was prohibited from making any phone calls, including to an attorney, and that agents told her she had to be at her son's detention hearing the next morning in Raleigh.
And she added that she was unable to sleep after the authorities left and that her daughter was traumatized. Both of her children are home-schoolers.
Annette Lundeby maintains that a hacker ? that is, one who is determined to seek unauthorized access to a computer ? got her son's Internet provider address and used such access to both make crank phone calls and falsely give the impression of the calls coming from the residence.
She claimed the judge questioned an FBI agent at the hearing in Raleigh about whether one could hack one's Internet provider address and claimed the agent replied this was virtually impossible. And she claimed that the agent told the judge that he did not know of any computer software available on the Internet to hack an Internet provider address.
She told the newspaper that she believes the problem stems from retribution against her son resulting from a dispute in connection with his being a participant in a game on a Web site, with the troubles starting in February.
She claimed somebody entered through a Web site account designed to provide her son with the ability to make telephone calls over the Internet.
"They were threatening him and they wanted him to do a bomb threat," she claimed.
And she claimed she herself started receiving numerous calls to her home phone, with the callers "using really vulgar language and threatening to do harm to us."
And she claimed callers phoned Emergency 911, telling operators they were her, saying her son had illegal drugs in the home and saying officers needed to conduct a search.
And she emphasized to the Dispatch that her son does not use drugs and cannot stand alcohol or smoke, either.
She claimed that callers claimed to be local police detectives, but that she quickly exposed the callers as phonies by asking, "Who is the police chief?" She claimed callers would reply, "Uh, uh."
And she added that she has continued to receive crank calls since the federal government arrested her son.
When the Dispatch asked Annette Lundeby whether she has received assistance from law enforcement, she replied, bluntly, "I have got no help from nobody" and told the newspaper she cannot get access to records.
She said her son did make practical joke-type calls, but maintained none of them were illegal.
Throughout the interview Thursday afternoon, she additionally maintained that she was baffled why agents, armed with a search warrant, confiscated old computer-to-Internet router devices that were unused and in storage but did not take her son's more modern routing device.
She said she believes the device, which she showed to a Dispatch representative, was probably not secure. And she said she believes proof of such a shortcoming would be vital evidence to her son's defense.
And she maintains that the family was attending a function at a church when the bomb threat was allegedly made in mid-February from the family's home.
Additionally, she continues to argue that the Patriot Act, approved by Congress after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, stripped her son of constitutional rights to judicial processes designed to safeguard his civil liberties.
The Patriot Act allows federal officials greater authority in tracking and intercepting communications, including by searching telephone, e-mail, medical and financial records, for the purposes of law enforcement and foreign intelligence gathering.