Hate mail instills fear in 8-year-old girl

Local News

CANTON, Ill. — A Canton family received a letter that caused concern and fear.

On Aug. 23, Leona Heller opened her mail not expecting the obscene message she found. The sender used derogatory language telling the family to keep one of their children under control and threatens to hurt the child.

The girl at hand is 8-year-old Audrey Harvey, Leona Heller’s great-granddaughter.

Apparently the threat was based on Harvey’s mixed-race heritage.

The letter reads, “You better keep that nasty black thing under control otherwise you just might find it in a ditch somewhere. Nothing but garbage ALL of YOU! Get out of this neighborhood. You are nothing [but] trash.”

The letter states that this is their “1st warning.”

Heller said she cried when she got the letter.

“When I opened it and I seen the letter I got really mad [and] angry and I just wanted to go around and knock on everyone’s door and find out where this letter came from. What right do you have to say this to my grand daughter?”

Leona Heller, Audrey Harvey’s Great-Grandmother

Now, Harvey is scared to play around her own neighborhood.

“My granddaughter is paranoid. She won’t go off this street and that’s not right,” Heller said.

She stays closer to the house where her family can see her at all times. Also, Harvey’s great-grandmother made sure her bus stop location changed.

We asked Harvey what she thinks will happen if she rides her bike around the neighborhood.

She responded saying,

“My grandma, my mom, my family might find me in a ditch like he said in the letter.”


Canton police officers said they don’t usually see threats like this and they are taking the necessary steps to find the person responsible.

However, they said the case won’t be solved overnight, but the letter will be forensically analyzed.

“That’s the problem it’s sitting at the Morton Crime Lab as we speak, but it’s sitting on a backlog,” public information officer Edward Glad said.

Glad said murder cases and other unsolved crimes do take precedence, which puts this one on the waiting list.

“This is one of those things that will have to wait its turn, unfortunately. Fingerprinting is not an easy thing to do. It takes a while to track down anything in the system that might match up to it,” Glad said.

Heller demands answers and said whoever is responsible needs to be punished.

“What’s this world coming to it’s not right. I just want everything to stop and stop now,” she said.

This is an on-going investigation, but the Canton police officers need your support. They ask that you remain vigilant in the neighborhood. If you see something call the Canton Police Department at (309)-647-5131 or Canton Crime Stoppers at (309)-647-3636.

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