Sports

Man Arrested for Threatening Family of Purdue Superfan Tyler Trent

A man who made death threats against the family of Purdue superfan Tyler Trent was arrested on Monday.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office said John Matthew Pinkham was apprehended at a house in Deltona, Florida, approximately 30 miles north of Orlando.

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According to investigators, the 39-year-old allegedly used an alias to repeatedly post threats on Trent’s Facebook page, in the days following Trent’s death on January 1.

Police confirmed Pinkham was being held on $10,000 bond after being charged with making written threats to kill or injure.

The sheriff’s office said the threats included killing Trent’s mother and causing violence at the Celebration of Life, a vigil in memory of the 20-year-old which is scheduled for Tuesday at the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.

“Cant [sic] wait till I can choke the life out of you,” Pinkham, who allegedly used the alias Julie Homan posted on the Facebook page, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.

“Funerals coming and I will appear like the reaper.”

Another message read: “Just wait until yall [sic] hear what I do at his funeral…I promise I will make headlines...I will kill his mother…Just watch I will be talked about forever…This is no idol threat.”

A former Purdue student, Trent lost his battle with cancer last week when he died aged 20.

Diagnosed with osteosarcoma—a form of bone cancer—as a 15-year-old in 2014, Trent’s defiance and activism captured the hearts of many across the nation and he regularly attended Purdue’s football and basketball games.

"While there are no words to ease the hurt at times like this, we hope some comfort can be found in knowing what an inspiration Tyler is to our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans," Purdue’s athletic department said in a statement following news of Trent’s death.

"The entire Purdue Athletics family has been touched by his courageous battle, positive spirit and unwavering faith. Tyler was the embodiment of a true Boilermaker who will live on in each of us. We will forever be #TylerStrong."

On December 28, Trent attended his final Purdue game as he traveled to Nashville with his family to see the Boilermakers take on Auburn in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

The trip was made possible by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who offered to fly Trent and his family to Tennessee from their home in Indiana.  

According to ESPN, the The Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment raised over $100,000 for cancer research in the final months of Trent’s life.

Despite a rapidly deteriorating condition, Trent served as honorary captain for the Boilermakers, wrote guest columns for The Indianapolis Star and even co-hosted an episode of SportsCenter on ESPN.

 Tyler Trent Purdue fan Tyler Trent holds the Ol' Oaken Bucket following the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on November 24 in Bloomington, Indiana. Michael Hickey/Getty Images

 

 

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