‘I found a bomb’: 8-year-old Iowa girl discovers explosive device

ANKENY, Iowa — An Iowa girl playing outside her home thought she found a dead animal in the middle of the street. Instead, the child discovered a homemade explosive device.

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“I found a bomb,” Maya Buffington, 8, of Ankeny, told KCCI on Thursday.

The child was playing Wednesday morning when she saw something that looked like a dead animal, the television station reported.

“I saw something in the street that I thought was a dead squirrel, and then went to go look at it and (saw) it wasn’t a dead squirrel,” Buffington told KCCI. “I saw something wrapped in tape and cardboard.”

“I thought I had to get away fast and go tell my mom.”

Suzanne Buffington called the police, who came to investigate. According to Ankeny Police Sgt. Corey Schneden, the homemade device had a cardboard exterior and a fuse, the Des Moines Register reported.

The device “was constructed in a way that it could have possibly gone off and caused some damage,” an official from the Iowa Fire Marshal’s Office told the newspaper.

Special Agent in Charge Ron Humphrey said agents with his office worked with the Ankeny Police Department to recover and disarm the device without detonating it. 

“We have tools that try and take them apart,” Humphrey told the Register. “Basically, it separates the components -- the explosives from the fuse, from the container, if there’s any shrapnel in there, safely.”

Several children live in the area, and Tracey Mure said a child could have been hurt.

“That could have been easily an explosion and hurt a kid so it’s just crazy,” Mure told KCCI. “You don’t think in this neighborhood that’s gonna happen.”

According to the Register, the discovery of the device comes after several calls from residents about “explosions” in the neighborhood, according to a letter police shared with area households. The reports were made April 2, May 12 and June 7, all within a block of where the device was found Wednesday, Schneden told the newspaper.

“Nothing’s been ruled out, but we don’t have anything that points directly that it’s connected,” Schneden said. “But we don’t have anything that says it’s not.”

“Our ultimate goal is to figure out who’s doing this. We don’t want anyone to get hurt or any property damage.”