Hate Letter Investigation Takes Decades To Get Underway

By: Randy Yohe Email
By: Randy Yohe Email

JACKSON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- With text messages and e-mails saturating our lives, getting a handwritten letter is usually pretty nice. That's unless that letter is filled with vicious family attacks and comes anonymously.

In one local school system, a series of hate letters has sparked a major investigation, as well as a demand for justice.

Debbie Biggs, a former Jackson City Schools principal; Diana Bowman a former school board member; and Virgil Hamilton, a current school board member, all have received such letters. They say over the past few years -- between the three of them -- they've received 10 letters.

While we can't show any full letter, they are all crudely hand written and laced with profanity and personal family insults and attacks.

"My daughter-in-law was pregnant with triplets," Biggs said. "The letter (writer) hoped they would die because the world did not need anymore like me."

Hamilton added, "They've been doing it for so long, they think it's acceptable."

Bowman said, "I got two letters. The first one was just vile, and I threw it in the garbage disposal."

Biggs knew at least 12 more that received letters.

They all say the hate letters have come to random Jackson School workers for about 20 years. And finally, in 2009, many recipients banded together, deciding enough was enough.

In 2005, a shooting incident involved the Jackson Schools superintendent. The letter receivers are convinced it's tied in and combined to create a bizarre community misunderstanding.

Bowman says, "It's intimidation.

Biggs said, "You're made to feel like you are to blame, and you are the victim."

Working with the U.S. Postal Service and handwriting experts, the Jackson County Sheriff says the hate letter investigation is complete, and there is a person of interest.

The Jackson County Prosecutor has asked the Ohio Attorney General's Office to review the case.

Tormented hate letter recipients just want this long running nightmare to end. They want an arrest and for the perpetrator to get help. They say the community needs to rally to make this happen.

"I don't care what charge, I just want proof that they make the right arrest," Biggs said.

If there is an arrest, possible charges could be menacing or aggravated menacing. Both are misdemeanors.

A felony charge of intimidation would require proof of a threat of physical harm.

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