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SALT LAKE CITY — A Canadian mother was dismayed after receiving an offensive letter from a neighbor complaining about her teenage son who has autism.
The mother, Karla Begley of Newcastle, Ontario, received the anonymous letter from a woman on Friday. The neighbor referred to 13-year-old Max as "retarded," a "nuisance and a problem," "dreadful" and a "wild animal child."
"You selfishly put your kid outside everyday and let him be nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else with that noise polluting whaling he constantly makes," the letter reads. "That noise he makes when he is outside is DREADFUL (sic) !!!!!!!!!!
"We have a nature trail!! Let him run around those places and make noise," the letter continues. "Crying babies, music and even barking dogs are normal sounds in a residential neighborhood!!!!! He is NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Speaking to Toronto station CityNews, Karla Begley struggled to get through an interview without crying as she read sections of the letter.
I was shaking when I was reading it. It's awful words. You don't know why somebody would ever do such a thing.
"The more you go on, the worse it gets," Begley said. "Who says that about a child?"
"I was shaking when I was reading it," said Max's grandmother, Brenda Millson. "It's awful words. You don't know why somebody would ever do such a thing."
The letter criticized the family for disrupting the neighbors and making it difficult for people to live in the neighborhood.
"What right do you have to do this to hard working people," the letter said. "I HATE people like you who believe, just because you have a special needs kid, you are entitled to special treatment.
"Do everyone in our community huge a favor and MOVE," the letter continues. "Move away and get out of this type of neighborhood setting!!!"
The community has since rallied around the family and is working to identify the woman who sent the family the letter.
Fearing for their safety, the family contacted the police. The family said they will likely press charges if someone is later identified as the author of the letter.