'I found a bomb': 8-year-old Iowa girl finds explosive device while playing outside

"I thought I had to get away fast and go tell my mom," Maya Buffington said.


Police are investigating after an Iowa girl found an explosive device in the middle of her street while playing outside Wednesday.

Eight-year-old Maya Buffington was matter-of-fact Thursday as she described what she saw in Ankeny, north of Des Moines, just before 9:30 a.m. the day before.

"I found a bomb," Maya said.

"I saw something in the street that I thought was a dead squirrel and then went to go look at it and that and (saw) it wasn't a dead squirrel," she said. "I saw something wrapped in tape and cardboard."

Luckily, Maya knew the right thing to do.

"I thought I had to get away fast and go tell my mom," she said.

Maya's mom called Ankeny police, who are now investigating. Police passed around letters to neighbors informing of them what happened.

A number of children live in the neighborhood, including Cavion Mure, whose dad, Tracey, could have easily set off the device while riding his bike.

"That could have been easily an explosion and hurt a kid so it's just crazy," Tracey Mure said. "You don't think in this neighborhood that's gonna happen."

Police said neighbors have made numerous calls over the last few months reporting explosions. The discovery comes a little more than three months after Ankeny police discovered a live pipe bomb outside a polling place.

Police spokesperson Sgt. Corey Schneden said investigators are looking into any possible connections.

"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."

Police didn't elaborate on what type of device was found Wednesday, but Schneden said the two devices were "not similar." He said it was concerning that the device was left in the middle of the street, where a person or vehicle could have detonated it.

Schneden said police have been in contact with people in the neighborhood who have surveillance cameras.

"Our ultimate goal is to figure out who's doing this," Schneden said. "We don't want anyone to get hurt or any property damage."