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Pace of Hate Mail Case Upsets Latinos

July 04, 1991

Latino residents in Santa Monica voiced their dissatisfaction after police and postal officials told them at a community meeting last week that a monthlong investigation into who sent a hate letter to nearly 800 Latino families has not produced any solid suspects.

About 150 people gathered at Edison School for the meeting, organized by the Latino Resource Organization to hear an update on the investigation into the May 22 incident in which someone used a copy of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District's bulk mail permit to send the letters.

Investigators told the audience that they have determined where the letters were photocopied and the type of computer on which they were printed.

But, said Lt. Barney Melekian, several people still need to be interviewed, and there are no solid suspects. A published report, which came a few days after the incident, saying an arrest was pending was erroneous, Melekian said.

Arturo Olivas, executive director of the Latino organization, said some people in the audience were angry because this was the first time the community has been updated on the investigation. However, police officials said this was the first time they been invited to speak to a community group.

"I think people are still frustrated by the long investigation, but they are happy that at least now they are being communicated to," Olivas said.

A $2,200 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in the case has been posted. Anyone with information should contact Melekian or Detective Alex Padilla at 458-8451.

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