Sheriff: Man threatens family of cancer victim Tyler Trent

Across the nation, many are wondering why someone would threaten the family of a Purdue University student who died of cancer. 

The suspect says that student inspired many, including himself. He says he didn't do it, but the authorities are calling him a liar.

Deputies arrested John Pinkham, 39, of Deltona, Florida, in his home on Monday. They say he's the one who posted threats on Tyler Trent's Facebook page, after the 20-year-old Purdue student died of cancer last week.  Deputies say Pinkham threatened violence at Tyler's Celebration of Life, scheduled for Tuesday. 

According to the arrest report, those threats stated, in part, "Can't wait till I can choke the life out of you,"  "funerals coming and I will appear like the reaper," and "I will kill his mother..just watch I will be talked about forever..this is no idol threat."

We talked to Pinkham from jail via telephone. He says his own mother died of cancer and has a message for Tyler's parents.

"From me to them, God bless them. I'm sorry that this whole situation happened. But I assure them this didn't come from me. This is a case of trolling. I know you know what trolling is, when people get on the internet and say and do stupid stuff."

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood says Pinkham was the only one being stupid.

"We were able to track the device to his home, and when detectives encountered him, the device that sent those threats and put this family in panic mode was in his pocket," Chitwood said.  "So this guy deserves to rot in jail, and he is my scumbag of a life time. I hope this poor family can rest and do what they need to do to honor their son."

Pinkham's fiancée says someone posted the alleged threats using her phone, which connects to Pinkham's Facebook account.

"I lost my Motorola phone, which had both our accounts on it.  Anyone could have picked up the phone and connect with it," says Alma Wilson.

"Sadly, she's just as big of a liar and just a culpable as he is. One big thing about technology, you trace where it came from," Chitwood added.

The sheriff says he feels for Tyler's family and made a donation in his memory. Pinkham is expected to make his first appearance in court on Tuesday.