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Durham police rule out hate crime charges after letter directed at autistic child

WATCH: Tue, Aug 20: An Ontario family is still feeling the sting of a hateful letter mailed to their home. The letter was a vicious attack on a 13-year-old autistic boy and while the community throws its support behind Maxwell Begley and his family, the question still remains – who wrote the letter? Peter Kim reports.

TORONTO – Durham regional police have ruled out the possibility of charging someone with a hate crime after an Oshawa family received a hateful letter suggesting they euthanize their autistic son.

Maxwell Begley, a 13-year-old child with moderate to severe autism, frequents his grandmother’s home in Newcastle to play on her trampoline and run through her sprinkler. It was at his grandmother’s home that the letter comparing him to a “wild animal” was delivered.

“You selfishly put your kid outside everyday and let him be a [sic] nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else with that noise polluting whaling [sic] he constantly makes!!!” the anonymous letter reads. “That noise he makes when he is outside is DREADFUL!!!!!!!!!!”
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Begley’s grandmother immediately went to police after receiving the letter and they initiated an investigation. Global News learned Tuesday morning that Durham Regional Police are no longer looking at possibly laying hate-crime related charges but are still investigating.

They wouldn’t say however, what charges might be laid.

The original story sparked outrage and disbelief online being viewed thousands of times and spreading across social media.

WATCH: A community rallies around the family that received a hateful letter directed at their autistic son. Mark Carcasole reports. 

In a discussion on the Global News Facebook page, people expressed their shock and anger at the anonymous letter-writer.

“Sounds like a very scared human who is ignorant. Sad!” Dina Van Duuren Timmermans said. “Sensitivity training should be training in humanity.”

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And Ann Lanno said “It is so sad that a young boy’s family gets haunted by a letter like this. The person who wrote this needs help more then [sic] the child.”

Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a blogger at AutismWonderland.com and mother to an autistic child, wrote an open letter to the person who wrote the hate-filled letter.

“Kids with autism have a right to live. This is the line that hurt and appalled me the most. I can’t imagine my life without my son,” Quinones-Fontanez wrote. “I can’t imagine wanting to end his life and it’s despicable that it’s even suggested to any mother.”

And one person has now set up a fundraising effort to assist Karla Begley, who has MS, and her son Maxwell.


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