BOTHELL, Wash. -- Inconsistent, odd, untruthful – that’s how school and police officials describe a beloved Bothell High School woodshop teacher who is now in hot water.
Veteran teacher Cal Pygott told police a stranger attacked him and choked him with a zip-tie inside his classroom back in the spring, but now police say he made up the entire story.
Police spent days searching for an attacker and gathering and examining evidence, but for months there had been no arrests.
It wasn’t until Wednesday that police said Pygott admitted to making up the story and staging the crime scene, but only after investigators said he failed a lie-detector test.
“I’m on the mend, I look better than I did on Friday,” Pygott told Q13 News in May shortly after the attack.
Pygott appeared bruised and emotional.
“I appreciate everyone’s wishes and support,” he added.
Pygott claimed to police that an unknown attacker hit him over the head, knocking him out inside his woodshop class at Bothell High School late one afternoon. He told police when he came to, he discovered his attacker had placed a zip-tie around his neck.
The claim sparked a huge police response and even closed the school for some time.
But it wasn’t until a state crime lab returned their analysis of evidence collected at the crime scene and a failed polygraph test that Pygott fessed up to police, saying he made it all up.
“When detectives provided Mr. Pygott with results of polygraph examination as well as other numerous inconsistencies, Mr. Pygott admitted he made up the story,” said Ken Seuberlich with the Bothell Police Department.
“I feel really badly, this is sad news,” Pygott’s neighbor Liz Gorman said to Q13 News. “Give him the benefit of the doubt and assume there’s an explanation that makes sense.”
But at this point there haven’t been an explanation. Nobody answered the telephone or the front door at Pygott’s Lake Forest Park home on Thursday.
Police said Pygott gave investigators a reason for why he allegedly faked the attack, but investigators refused to share that information with reporters during a Thursday press conference.
“He did provide a statement of why but we’re not going to get into that,” said Seuberlich.
Pygott has been placed on paid administrative leave while the city’s attorney reviews the case. The teacher could be facing charges for obstruction and making a false statement.