According to The Kokomo Tribune, 63-year-old Deborah Cantwell was booked on misdemeanor counts of intimidation and criminal mischief after the seller of the home told the family that she had earlier expressed her vociferous opposition to their moving into the area because of their black son.
The family had not even moved into their new home when the father stopped by the property after work one evening and found the house had been covered with toilet paper and discovered the “racially offensive and threatening” letter which read in part:
“No N*ggers wanted in this neighborhood-THIS IS A WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD-some people find N*GGERS Stressful,” the letter read. “YOUR N*GGER KID IS NOT WELCOME.”
“YOU CAN SELL YOUR HOUSE AND MAKE MONEY ON IT RIGHT NOW,” read the last paragraph. “BY THE WAY HOPE YOU HAVE DEEP POCKETS.”
Police investigators discovered texts that Cantwell had sent to another neighbor that echoed the language in the letter.
“I am stressing now that we are going to get black neighbors,” Cantwell texted. “I am hoping that more people look at the house and an all-white family are the ultimate buyers. I am afraid the stress of black neighbors could put me in the hospital.
“My blood pressure is elevated just thinking about the possibility.”
In a subsequent interview with police, Cantwell broke down and admitted that she was the perpetrator of the hate crime and tried to justify her actions by referencing “past incidents she said caused her family harm.”
“I was just trying to let them know that they weren’t really … welcome as far as us. … I just needed to let off some steam and it was the – I’m not a violent person so I didn’t think it was any big deal.”
“I mean, the blacks get away with it every time,” Cantwell told an investigator.
“Just rage, I was trying to vent,” she added about the toilet-papering.
As part of her arrest, Cantwell was prohibited from contacting the family from now on.
The incident inspired the victimized family to start a GoFundMe page to pay for legal fees, a fence, and a security system to protect them from future racist attacks. In the appeal on the fund-raising page, the mother of the child that inspired Cantwell’s despicable actions described her dilemma in explaining the events to her child:
“How do I tell my child that this was done? What words do I say to let him know it is not ok and this doesn’t represent this town, where everyone that meets him likes him?” she wrote.
“That this can’t make him angry and bitter. That he is so much better then what they are portraying him as! His skin color shouldn’t matter. I had to look him in his eyes to talk to him about something I will never understand first, but I saw firsthand the devastation on his face. I watched my child be crushed by someone else’s hatred and racism.”