The FBI confirms it is now investigating the Labor Day weekend house fire of a lesbian couple in Tennessee as a possible hate crime.
Laura Stutte says "it has shaken me to the core."
Carol Ann Stutte says "this is our first time from the safe house and she did great."
Laura and Carol Ann Stutte say years of threats from a particular neighbor had escalated. They installed a gate, security lights, and barbed fencing around their home near Vonore in Monroe County.
Carol Ann says "the final threats near the end were we were going to be killed and our house burned down. And we were told what's better than one dead queer is two dead queers to our face. That's when we finally started filing police reports."
They came home from a Labor Day weekend trip to find a slur painted on their garage next to where their house used to stand.
Laura says "everything we worked for for the last 5 years just burned down to the ground."
Carol Ann says "I was just sitting out on the land, no home, and these wonderful people like angels came and got us and said you're coming with us. You will be safe and that's where we've been staying."
They don't plan to rebuild here. But do want to stay in east Tennessee.
Carol Ann says "so many many people have come out and are sending their love and prayers."
As for the person who did this, Carol Ann says "I want to see them get help. I do not want them to be able to do this to anyone else."