The first sign that hatefulness had visited their new home in the Northland was the smoke.
A Muslim couple — he grew up in Pakistan and she is an African-American mother from Kansas — saw smoke spewing from their garage as they returned home one night last month with their three children.
One or more people had broken in and spray-painted "Allah Scum," a racial epithet and other slurs on various surfaces, including the master bedroom door upstairs, the wall of the master bathroom, the refrigerator and a counter top. Police suspect charcoal lighter fluid had been used to set fire to a staircase, according to a report.
The father, who asked that his name not be used because police have not yet made an arrest, said he and his wife returned the next day after sleeping at a motel to assess the damage.
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He and his wife are both managers at area companies.
They're in the process of moving with their children into a nearby residence after spending about two weeks in a motel room and at a friend's house.
"I'm pretty sure it was a hate crime," the father said. "That's what it looks like. That's what you see in there."
The home, located on North Mercier Court, is a three-story duplex nestled in a still-developing cul-de-sac.
Terence Washington, who is also African-American and lives in the adjoining unit of the house, said there is no apparent animosity between neighbors.
They're all cordial with one another and have enjoyed the springtime in their yards in each other's company, Washington said.
"I really don't know what's fueling it," he said. "To have someone invade your home with your kids — that's very frightening for a parent to think about."
The duplex was finished last fall, Washington said, and since then several families have moved into other homes in the cul-de-sac.
From the outside of the victims' home, the only sign of damage is chipped paint on the front door. Police suspect someone kicked it in, busting the frame in the process.
Kansas City police's bomb and arson unit is investigating the matter.
Bridget Patton, a spokeswoman with the Kansas City office of the FBI, said this week that her agency is aware of the incident and has been in contact with Kansas City police.
"If something would arise during the course of the investigation that would determine a federal violation (such as a hate crime) exists, then we'd be involved more," Patton said.
Insurance paid for part of the damage but not all of it, the father said.
His last name evokes the Muslim religion. He wondered if that, coupled with the family's religious and racial background, fueled the crime.
"I don't have any words," the father said. "We never took our kids back to that place ... to see what was in there."