Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

First a Racial Slur Appeared on a Missouri Home. Then the House Burned Down

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 3:15 PM

click to enlarge This hateful slur appeared on a house in Crawford County, Missouri, just weeks before it was set ablaze. - COURTESY OF JOSSALYN LARSON
  • This hateful slur appeared on a house in Crawford County, Missouri, just weeks before it was set ablaze.
Jossalyn and John Larson were driving by Gary Masten’s home in Crawford County, located to the east of Rolla, when they noticed the words "N**** Fucker" were spray painted onto the side. Shocked by the sight of it, they visited Masten’s home with paint in hand, offering to help cover up the racist remark. But the epithet wasn't all they found: On the back of the house, they discovered a badly-drawn swastika.

Working together, the three of them were able to obscure the graffiti but ran out of paint to completely cover the hateful message. Unfortunately, paint would soon be the least of their worries, as Masten’s house was burned down two weeks later.

Masten, who is white, lived with his son in their home just north of Cuba, off Highway 19, KSDK reports. Police arrived on the morning of October 27 to find the home engulfed in flames. Multiple area fire departments ended up responding, including those from Cuba, Owensville and Bourbon, according to a Facebook post from Cuba Fire Protection District. Masten told police that he and his family were not home at the time of the incident.

The Crawford County Sheriff's Office is in the middle of a preliminary investigation to find out whether the house fire is connected to the property damage, according to a press release from Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.

Masten downplayed the racist message in an interview with KSDK yesterday, and seemed to rebuff the suggestion that there was a connection between the bigoted messages and the blaze. “It’s some moron with a paint can. It’s got nothing to do with who actually lives here,” he said.

The afternoon after the fire took place, the Larsons created a fundraiser through Facebook, labeling it “#NotInOurTown #StandUpAgainstHate.” At the time of writing, the Larsons' Facebook donations have reached $8,220, surpassing its $5,000 goal.

The Larsons wrote on the fundraising page, "Fire Marshal and Sheriffs are investigating. They know where the fire began, and suspect that the fire is likely connected to the vandalism. This may also be connected to severe bullying at school. Local friends - talk to your kids and neighbors. Somebody is going to brag about this. Direct all leads to the Crawford County Sheriff's Department at 573-775-2125."

The Larsons added that the home's resident was "a cherished neighbor." "He is a 20 year Army Airborne Vet following a patriarch that was a Navy Seal who served at the Bay of Pigs," they wrote.

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to several messages seeking comment.
  • Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation