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Police: Lynching picture sent to crime lab

Published On: Apr 17 2014 09:11:57 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 18 2014 12:05:26 PM CDT

A mailbox mystery has one Stoughton family worried. Jennifer Hoff reports.

STOUGHTON, Wis. -

A mailbox mystery has one Stoughton family worried.

"My heart started pounding and the first thing I could say was, 'Get upstairs, call the police and don't touch it anymore,'" Hester Hale said.

Hale and her husband said they don't feel safe anymore. Wednesday, the couple got what they thought was a letter, but said instead, it was a picture of a lynching.

"And it had people around the bottom and it said, 'This is what you're going to get next,'" Harry Hale said.

The digital drawing was postmarked from Madison. It was in a white envelope addressed to Harry's oldest son, Javon, who is 18 years old. It didn't have a return address and was folded three times.

Harry said what's more disturbing is Javon's face was drawn onto the victim.

"He doesn't bother anybody and he's really quiet," Harry Hale said.

Javon is a Madison College student and said he has never been threatened. But now, his family said they and Javon's seven other siblings feel unsafe in the normally quiet Stoughton neighborhood.

"It's an awesome community," Harry Hale said. "We're not blaming them for it, but we just hope they (police) can get to the bottom of it for us."

The Hale family handed the letter over to Stoughton police and filed a report, but the department declined News 3's interview request Thursday.

On Friday, police confirmed the letter was sent through the mail and it's been taken to the State Crime Lab for processing.

The FBI and U.S. Postal Service is involved in the investigation.

Stoughton Police Chief Greg Leck said the behavior will not be tolerated and whoever is responsible will be prosecuted.

The family said they're speaking out to stop a hate crime from happening to anyone else.

"We want to be safe," Hester Hale said. "Not just our family, but everyone should feel safe."

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