Mother, son's lives threatened on Topix website

By CJ Cassidy - bio | email

BELL CITY, MO (KFVS) - Imagine someone putting a hit out on your life, online.  A local mother and son say they have been dealing with it for a while.

Veronica Yount and her son Shawn, say they are both witnesses in an arson investigation in Bell City

They say they've been harassed by folks there ever since they gave police their statements, and they call this the final straw.

Veronica Yount says she decided to sell her home after people began threatening her and her son on a popular website called Topix.

One post offers "$5,000 to any person who permanently gets rid of Veronica Yount by 5 p.m. Monday. Also $5,000 to any person who gets rid of Shawn Yount by 5 p.m. Monday."

The deadline for the "hits" expired in December, but Shawn Yount says it's still disturbing.

"You've got to take it serious because people do things for money and $5000 for each person...that's a lot of money."

Both Younts are witnesses in an upcoming arson trial against Billy Arnold.

He is accused of setting fire to his home and collecting insurance money on it.

"The young man is related to half the town and the other half is his friends, so I'm not very well thought of," Veronica said.

In fact, one of the posts goes on to say getting rid of the Younts "would not only save Billy but keep these people from ever hurting anyone again."

Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner says they have contacted Topix to track down where the posts came from, and an investigation is underway.

Veronica Yount says she will be patient. She says after all, the harassing began months before the comments made it online. She says someone vandalized her car and even threatened her outside her home.

"I think it was a Jeep parked in that driveway over there facing the house and the man had a gun out pointing it toward the house," she said.

The Younts say they still plan on testifying in court, regardless of the threats against them.

The sheriff says if you ever find yourself targeted, print out the comments, and then call the police nearest you.

In the meantime, the CEO of Topix, Chris Tolles, did take those comments off, after Heartland News called him, and he says he cooperates with police anytime they get a subpoena for information.

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