Neighbors, supporters walk with targeted Stoughton family
Family allegedly targeted by a threatening letter lead a march, as police continue to follow leads
STOUGHTON, Wis. — Dozens came out to support a Stoughton couple who said they received a threatening letter last week.
“Nobody should be treated this way,” Sharon Sutfin said, as she waited for the walk to begin.
Sutfin heard that her neighbors, Harry and Hester Hale, checked their mail to find a letter postmarked from Madison and addressed to their 18-year-old son. According to the family, they opened it to find an image of a lynching with their son’s face on one of the bodies.
Sutfin said her sons have been victims of racist bullying, so she felt like she understood what the Hales were going through.
“I was really upset. Why would somebody want to do this to their family?” Sutfin said.
Wednesday night’s event started in Criddle Park, where neighbors and others gathered together before walking a few blocks to the Hale’s home where that letter was delivered.
Hester Hale said she still hasn’t slept well, she has lost weight, and she is still afraid to go to places alone. She hopes events like the one they organized Wednesday will help find the person responsible for the letter.
“They’re supporting us, and doing this would open a person’s eyes to let them know, no this is not a joke. It’s not funny at all,” Hester Hale said.
Stoughton Mayor Donna Olson was among those walking with the Hales. She reiterated what city officials said last week to the crowd, stressing that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in their community.
“Stoughton is a community for all, and we want everybody in Stoughton to feel comfortable and safe in their own home,” Olson said.
Stoughton police said the letter is still being processed at a crime lab and officers continue to follow any leads that come in. Police believe the incident was isolated and haven’t seen anything similar to it happen in the community.
Hester Hale said the amount of support people in Stoughton have shown her family does let her know there are still good people around.
“I want to get out of this something to know, like I said, my babies is OK and we can go on with our life, and we can put this behind us,” Hester Hale said.