A 63-year-old Indiana woman was arrested last Thursday after being accused of tormenting a family, including leaving a racist letter targeting a Black child that was left on the door of her neighbors’ new home.
Deborah Cantwell is facing charges of intimidation and criminal mischief. She posted bail on her $8,000 bond upon booking, but still has to stay away from the family and not contact them due to a protection order that notes “stalking has occurred,” according to the Kokomo Tribune
The incident all began on Oct. 13, when the father of the family reached out to Howard County Sheriff’s Office, noting that his family’s home had been toilet-papered, and the horrific letter was left to on his door.
“No N—ERS wanted in this neighborhood – THIS IS A WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD – some people find N—ERS Stressful due to 33 years of NEGATIVE experience and it causes serious health issues,” Cantwell allegedly wrote. “YOUR N—ER KID IS NOT WELCOME.”
“YOU CAN SELL YOUR HOME AND MAKE MONEY ON IT RIGHT NOW,” the note added. “BY THE WAY HOPE YOU HAVE DEEP POCKETS.”
The note made reference to the apparent stress that having Black people in the neighborhood brought on the writer, with the writer claiming that a sibling had been beaten up by Black people and police claimed that their hands were tied because the suspects were Black.
The family had not even moved into the home yet, according to the report, but the father had stopped at the house close to midnight when he found the vandalism and the note. The rest of the family had been at the house a mere five hours before.
By Oct. 15, the father told officers that he believed Cantwell was behind the incident, as he was told by the person who sold the home that Cantwell was against the family moving in because of their son.
Apparently Cantwell also sent texts to an unidentified person, expressing her desire to have an all-white family buy the home.
“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,” she added.
By Oct. 18, Cantwell had admitted to writing the letter and vandalizing the family’s home with toilet paper, claiming she was “trying to vent.”
“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,” she apparently told investigators.
Cantwell also refused to apologize for her alleged actions.
“I am sorry that it caused so much ruckus, but I feel like I released some anger writing that letter” she said.
The family has since started a GoFundMe.
“My bi-racial son. My CHILD was facing bigotry and hatred at a level I can’t even fathom. JUST FOR THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN!!!,” the GoFundMe post, written by the mother read. “This destroyed his innocence. This destroyed a childhood. This even effected my other 4 kids!”
“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? That this can’t make him angry and bitter. That he is so much better then what they are portraying him as,” the GoFundMe added. “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 hatred and racism.”