While federal agents and a terrorism task force searched for dangerous chemicals at three homes in the Houston area and two in Michigan on Friday, FBI investigators made a surprise appearance at Austin College during the Sherman school's family weekend.
A source with ties to the college tells CultureMap that the son of Cecily Horton and Andrew Schneck — the couple who owns the five raided homes — is a student at the school. College spokesperson Lynn Womble confirmed that agents did arrive on campus, but she said she could not say who was at the center of the investigation.
"There was no raid or agents in biohazard suits," she told CultureMap when asked if the searches were similar to those in Houston and Michigan. "We are fully cooperating with the FBI."
"There are absolutely no devices anywhere on campus that would be destructive or harmful."
Nevertheless, enough unfounded rumors are circulating that Austin College vice president of student affairs Tim Millerick felt compelled to take to Facebook:
“Early this morning the FBI informed us that a current student may have information that will help them in a broader investigation. Please know that the campus is safe, and the FBI presence on campus was simply part of a routine investigation.
"Contrary to rumors that have been circulating, there are absolutely no devices anywhere on campus that would be destructive or harmful."
Student Raz Fyfe told KXII Ch. 12 that he was questioned by agents at his dorm Baker Hall Friday, but he wouldn't elaborate. "At the end of my interview I was assured that there's nothing, you know, not a big deal and that I could go back to my room and that I'd be fine," he said. "So it was certainly safe the whole time."
Later that day, he posted on Facebook that he lives next to the room search by the FBI, calling the college's official statement "bullshit" while adding "that the truth is almost equally mundane."
Few additional details have surfaced since the Friday raids at homes owned by the prominent Houston art consultant Horton and her husband, a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M's College of Architecture. Sources close to the FBI confirm that the couple themselves are not under investigation.
In the meantime, the FBI has ordered the search warrants sealed from the public until an arrest is made or the case is closed. FBI spokesperson Shauna Dunlop told CultureMap on Tuesday she is unable to confirm if the home raids were linked to the Austin College investigation.