The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
In the early morning hours of Friday, September 7 a Florida sheriff's deputy woke the residents of a Newberry Oaks home to inform them of hate speech he found painted on the side of their home during a routine patrol.
Liz Abel and her wife Alecia Abel, who started transitioning three months ago, say they weren't aware of what happened until Sheriff’s Sgt. Brett Rhodenizer knocked on their door.
The graffiti in black spray paint read “move or die t***y f**k."
Based on the verbiage of the threat the Sherriff's department is now investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Rhodenizer said Newberry Oaks is a neighborhood full of good people and he hopes the person responsible for the tag will come forward.
“Whatever their motivations were, the actions are criminal,” he said. “We’re looking forward to working with neighbors to get the person identified.”
Liz Abel says she also found a Post-It note stuck to her garage earlier that day.
“It said, ‘move or die,’ too,” she said. “Alecia took it, tore it up and threw it away. We woke up to the same message written in spray paint.”
The couple fears that the culprit won't be caught, but the neighborhood has come to Alecia's defense and that makes her happy.
The news traveled around the population of about 6,000 people and eventually, Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe got wind of it and reached out to the couple personally.
“When I called them, first and foremost, I wanted to know that they were safe. I have respect for [the sheriff’s office] but I wanted to be sure they were taking the threat seriously and everything that could be done to ensure their safety was being done,” Marlowe said. “I wanted to make sure they understood that there was no room in their elected representatives’ hearts for this kind of behavior and message. It’s disgusting and irreprehensible.”
Liz feels the person who left the message painted it for lack of understanding.
“For the most part, I feel people fear what they don’t know and they choose to lash out to make themselves feel better,” she said. “They feel justified in their actions without recognizing their immorality.”
In an unrelated case in Nevada, a home was also tagged with the same type of threat, this time against a gay man although he did not file a police report because he didn't want any attention placed on him in the media.