Letter sent to mayor disrespects late son

May 23, 2008 3:39:58 PM PDT
Disturbing details about the letter Mayor Daley received following a fire at his vacation home have been released. The letter's writer threatened the mayor's family-- and even disparaged his late son, who died as a toddler. Police said the tone of the letter concerned investigators.

Despite the incredibly personal attack on the mayor and his family, it was business as usual Friday for Chicago's chief executive.

Mayor Daley says he has to put faith in the people investigating the threat, as well as in those who protect him. He was just as accessible Friday and just as eager to interact with the public as usual. So, if the mayor is worried by the apparent arson or the threats to his family, he was downplaying it.

"It's disturbing but a the same time I have confidence in the men and women investigating this," Mayor Daley said.

The fire, which happened earlier in May, destroyed the Michigan home of one of the mayor's neighbors but did not damage Daley's summer house.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the letter included rants against the mayor, his wife and adult children. It also refers to the Daley's late son, Kevin, who died of spina binfida as a toddler more than 25 years ago. The author reportedly wrote "f--- your dead son."

At a bridge dedication ceremony Friday, there were no signs the Mayor's security detail is being beefed-up.

"We're all in public life. No one likes a threatening letter to you or your family, your loved ones or children. You get disturbed but you have to move on," said Mayor Daley.

The fire, which happened earlier in May, destroyed the Michigan home of one of the mayor's neighbors but did not damage Daley's summer house.

The letter writer is said to have been angered by the Chicago Police Department's decision to shoot and kill a cougar on the North Side in April. Police have reportedly used DNA to link the letter to another one written following the shooting of a wolf at the Brookfield Zoo in November 2003. That letter included a white powder that did not pose a threat. However, the author expressed outrage that a zoo security guard killed the wolf after it bit a woman who entered its habitat. Therefore, police are looking at the possibility that an animal rights activist may be behind the incredibly personal attack

"The mayor and I will be the first to tell you, if you any political battles, bring them to us, not to our families," Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said.

"It's really below the belt. It's a vile way of doing business, and I think it's unfortunate that it happened to anybody," said Rep. Danny Davis of Chicago's West Side.

The Sun-Times reports police have DNA from both letters but it does not match anyone currently in criminal databases.

Mayor Daley said Friday he does not want to become encased in a security bubble. He also said he hoped to continue going on bike rides and remain just as accessible as ever.

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