"When this event occurred, [Cano] was no longer under any sanctions and we weren't mandated to check on him," Newman said. "Friends knew he was troubled and had girlfriend issues, but that doesn't really rise to level of law enforcement involvement."
Facebook Should Be Monitored
Still, the contents of Cano's Facebook page included quotes such as, "lessons not learned in blood are soon forgotten," posts about drug-use, including, "i love me some weed haha," and photographs of Cano wielding a machete and swigging alcohol, leading some critics to say authority figures may have overlooked cries for help.
"There's no question in my mind that there was a cry for help involved here ... between the discussions of Columbine, the postings on his Facebook page, and some of the history that we've seen with this individual," Reeve said. "One of the things we know from other cases is [that] usually there are some tells or signs, and there are definitely some here … that would be suggestive to friends or family that there is something deeply wrong going on."
In certain cases, Reeve said, parents should monitor their children's Facebook pages.
"I think Facebook should be taken very seriously," he said. "The way that adolescents vent needs to be paid a lot of attention and needs to be taken very seriously by school and by family."
Cano lives in a Tampa with his mother, Michelle Cano, a math teacher at Riverview High School in Riverview, Fla. Police said that she claimed complete ignorance about her son's alleged plot and was unaware of any bomb-building materials in his bedroom.
Cano's former girlfriend, Nicolette French, said that Cano's father, Alexander Luna Cano III, who was divorced from his mother, had not lived with the family for many years and that the youngster had not been in communication with his father.
The suspect's father also has a criminal record, including a 2001 arrest for assault with intention to commit sexual battery and previous domestic violence offenses, though it was unclear what became of the charges.
Reeve said that the onus is on the family and community to try to reach out to kids who make cries for help. In Cano's case, an anonymous call into Tampa Police Department reported that Cano was plotting to bomb the school and thwarted his attempts to do so. The tipster's identity has been kept confidential, but that person was praised by police as a "hero."
"It's important that this was stopped before it happened because the other message that it sends out to potential copycats is that this sort of behavior doesn't end up with you going out in blaze of glory," Reeve said. "It ends up with you getting arrested."