UPDATE: Stoughton gathers to support family shaken by hateful le - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Stoughton gathers to support family shaken by hateful letter

Posted: Updated: Apr 23, 2014 04:31 PM
STOUGHTON (WKOW) -- At least 100 people turned out Tuesday evening at Stoughton's Criddle Park to support Harry and Hester Hale.

It has been one week since the couple said they received a racist picture in the mail.

The letter, allegedly addressed to Harry's teenage son, depicted the mob lynching of two African Americans. The Hales said the teen's picture had been superimposed onto one of the dead bodies. The letter also said something to the effect of "this is what's going to happen next," Hester Hale told 27 News the day after it was delivered.

Tuesday friends of the family organized a 'Just Love' vigil.

Those who attended gathered at Criddle Park for prayer. They then walked around the block to the Hale household.

"I've lived here for about 13 years," said Angela Lawrence, who attended the vigil with her son Sam. "We really just wanted to turn something negative into a positive, just to support them."

Ted Schultz, the neighborhood's mail carrier who delivered the letter in question, said he attended to show the Hales he cares for them.

"My message is we love you, we support you," Schultz said, "tomorrow is going to be a better day."

Harry Hale said all the support has been a silver lining to an otherwise traumatic seven days.

"Love is in the air. It's good," he said.

"Everybody's (not) bad. There's still a whole lot of good people out there and they're just not going to accept this," Hale said.

Stoughton Police Chief Greg Leck said Tuesday his department is still "actively" investigating the letter's origin and is treating it as a very serious matter.

"When we find out who's responsible for this, we are going to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law," Leck said. "That's the message we need to send. That this behavior won't be tolerated."


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STOUGHTON (WKOW) -- The Stoughton family that alleges it received a racially-motivated hate letter in the mail has organized a vigil to support safe neighborhoods Wednesday evening.

Harry and Hester Hale said they returned to their Stoughton home from a funeral one week ago to find the letter in their home's mailbox. They said the photo depicted two, African Americans being lynched by a mob.

A picture of Harry's 18-year old son had been superimposed onto one of the bodies.

The Hale family turned the letter over to police last Wednesday. The police chief said his department is actively pursuing any leads in the case to track down the letter's source. The investigation is ongoing.

The chief said police are treating the photo as a "very serious" matter.

Wednesday's evening vigil will begin at Stoughton's Criddle Park at 5:30 p.m.. Those participating will then walk to Hale home a few blocks away.

The ceremony has been dubbed the "Just Love" vigil. The Hale family said in a previous interview with 27 News that it's hoping to raise awareness about the letter so that other families do not have to go through a similar ordeal.


We will be at the event LIVE on 27 News at 5 & 6.

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