At approximately 8:00 PM Monday July 20, 2020, Hempstead County Deputies were called to a residence on Hempstead County Road 157 in reference to a package they received in the mail. The package, from Shanghai China, was addressed to an 18-year-old who lives at the residence. After determining that no one in the home had ordered anything from Shanghai the parents called HCSO for assistance.
Deputies arrived and discovered a clear plastic bag addressed to the 18-year-old with the correct address of the residence. It contained three face masks with a return address on the labeling of Shanghai, China.
One of the parents of the 18-year-old had heard about a similar incident in another state where the same type package was received by a juvenile member of a family and became ill.
After deputies were advised of that and out of an abundance of caution deputies donned PPE, retrieved the package and placed it at a safe and secure location until a Haz-Mat Team from the Arkansas National Guard could arrive and conduct testing.
The Guard unit arrived and conducted several tests on the package and determined it posed no threat and was not contaminated with any foreign substance. The Guard Unit placed the package into a Haz-Mat bag and turned it back over to deputies for transport to a facility where it will be destroyed.
I would like to stress that no family member or Deputies sustained any injury from this incident.
I would caution our citizens about receiving unsolicited packages wherever they come from. Please remain vigilant and safe if you encounter a suspicious package and immediately call your local law enforcement agency.
James A. Singleton, Sheriff