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A Canadian family with a 13-year-old autistic boy received a hate-filled letter from someone who claimed to be in the neighborhood. The writer told the family to move and even suggested that they “euthanize” their son, Max. The letter has gone viral and police even investigated it as a possible hate crime.
On Monday, The Stellas - a country music duo made up of Brad and MaryLynne Stella - posted an image of the letter on their Twitter account, writing that it was slipped under a neighbor’s door. “This is appalling,” the couple wrote. According to Fox News, another Twitter user, @LennonandMaisy, wrote “A close family friend has an autistic boy and this was an anonymous letter slipped under her door. This is real.” Both included a photo of the letter.
This letter was anonymously slipped to our good friend regarding her autistic boy Max. This is appalling. pic.twitter.com/Bn2ogPxZ7u
— The Stellas (@thestellas) August 19, 2013
The Stellas are friends with Karla Begley, Max’s mother, who posted about it on Facebook. “Karla was talking about it on Facebook, so we just obviously were upset by it and knew that it needed to be shared,” MaryLynne Stella told Fox News. “And awareness is key to change, and so we thought it would be a good thing to put it up and have people see how disturbing it was.”
Begley gave an emotional interview to City News Toronto, “I was shaking when I was reading it,” Brenda Millson, his grandmother, explained. “It’s awful words. You don’t know why somebody would ever do such a thing.”
According to The Toronto Star, police did investigate the letter as a possible hate crime, but they found that it didn’t hit the threshold. “Despite the hateful language used, the Crown Attorney’s office has advised that the content of the letter falls below the threshold for a hate crime. However, there are other Criminal Code issues that are being considered,” Durham Regional Police said in a statement.
The letter is filled with shocking language and signed by “One pissed off mother.” The writer complains about Max playing outside, saying, “That noise he makes when he is outside is DREADFUL!!!!!!!!!! It scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!!!!” In addition, Max is referred to as a “retarded kid.”
“What right do you have to do this to hard working people!!!!!!!! I HATE people like you who believe, just because you have a special needs kid, you are entitled to special treatment!!! GOD!!!!!!" the letter reads. Begley is told to “go live in a trailer in the woods or something with your wild animal kid!!!” or “euthanize him. Either way, we are ALL better off!!!”
According to CNN, the letter was delivered to Max’s grandmother’s house, where he often stays.
“If someone is sick enough to not only have those thoughts, but to write those thoughts out and then to mail them," Max’s father Jack told CNN, then "they should be considered dangerous. We are all concerned."