Crime & Courts
Polk teen to speak about chemical explosion case
The Polk County teenager who was accused of igniting a chemical explosion on school grounds — and then became the subject of a social media campaign on her behalf — will speak about the case this afternoon. Kiera Wilmot, 16, was arrested April 22 for two felonies after administrators at Bartow High School reported she combined toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a plastic bottle, and the resulting gas blew the cap off the bottle. She was charged with two felony counts of possession and discharge of a destructive device or weapon, according to her attorney. The Polk County State Attorney has said that the case has been dismissed, but Wilmot must complete a diversion program. Details about the program aren't available because Wilmot is a juvenile.Also scheduled to attend the press conference at the Vision Center of Word Alive Ministries in Lakeland will be her mother, Marie Wilmot, twin sister, Kayla, and her attorney, Larry D. Hardaway. The teen's arrest launched an international outcry on social media by people who thought the arrest was unfair. Nearly 200,000 people signed an online petition protesting her arrest. The Polk County School Board hasn't come to any decisions about Wilmot. School district attorney Wes Bridges has said she hasn't been expelled and that her case will go to a school board hearing officer. Wilmot was suspended 10 days after the incident. After the suspension, she attended classes at an alternative school. A lawyer representing Wilmot said she was conducting an experiment for a science class. Her teacher wasn't aware of the experiment. The Associated Press contributed to this report.