The girl accused of tweeting the death threat turned herself in after learning that investigators were looking for her, the sheriff said. Nevertheless, "They're going to have to answer to it," he said.
"We're dealing with kids, again," Abdalla said. "But the attorney general had just left the building -- the judge was still in the building -- when I received messages that there's death threats already against the victim."
No charges had been announced against the suspects Monday night, but "There's no question they're going to prosecute."
"I hope this sends a warning," he said. "And I can assure you, we've been monitoring Twitter for 24 hours and continue to. If there's anybody else there crosses a line and makes a death threat, they're going to have to face the consequences."
The case received widespread attention after a blogger who once lived in Steubenville uncovered some of the materials posted to social media sites.
The blogger, Alexandria Goddard, wrote pointedly about the possibility that the teenagers had been given preferential treatment because they played on the town's highly regarded football team. Police have denied that claim.
Later, the loosely organized hacker group Anonymous got involved, posting a lengthy video in which another teenager -- who has not been charged -- made joking references to the rape.
The ensuing ire over the case brought national attention and criticism to the city from around the country, leaving city officials struggling to defend the community and residents weary of the media spotlight.
Acknowledging the town's frustration, DeWine said Monday that it would be a mistake to focus on one small Ohio community, to think something unique in its culture is behind the incident.
"I'm afraid people are going to walk away and say this was all about Steubenville," DeWine said. "It's not. It's a cultural problem."
"I'll guarantee that there are crimes very similar to this that occur every Friday night and every Saturday night in communities across this country where you have people, particularly young people, who are drinking too much and a girl is taken advantage of, and a girl is raped," he said.
Such incidents stem from a larger social problem -- a rampant lack of respect and human decency, he said.
"One of the lessons of life is we have to take care of each other, and we have to try to help people and we have to do what's right." DeWine said. "And there were precious few people that night that were doing what was right."