The mayor of a South Carolina town believed she was the target of a hate crime after cars belonging to her and her husband were dusted with a mysterious, “yellow, sticky substance.”

Local and state police investigated the claims made by Lamar Mayor Darnell Byrd McPherson, who reported that on February 7 at 10 p.m. local time, someone sprayed her 2017 Symphony Silver Hyundai Elantra Sport and her husband’s soft-top 1998 Buick Roadmaster with a residue outside of their home.

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Setting in was the deafening fear of an attack.

Darnell Byrd McPherson

“I likened it as a hate crime because No. 1, there’s a history in our town of Lamar,” the volunteer mayor of the town with approximately 980 constituents, said.

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The memories of the past were front and center for Mayor McPherson upon seeing her car defaced.

“It ignited some fear in my spirit,” she said. “My God, who would do that?

“It was something; it was just unnerving to me.”

In the incident report obtained by Newsweek, her husband asked her, “Where did you go today? The car is covered in paint.”

The report went on to detail how the mayor and her husband streaked a finger over the tarnished parts surfacing the car and “realized it was not paint and that the substance could be removed with a finger; similar to pollen.”

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She has served as Lamar’s volunteer mayor for one year while working full-time as the Executive Director of the Darlington County First Steps, which serves to strengthen families through education.

The mayor is hard-pressed to understand why she was targeted.

“I have a good reputation,” she said. I have never been subjected to something like this.”

Both cars were rigorously cleaned the day after the incident, and therefore a sample of the substance, whatever it was, wasn’t preserved.

“The substance wasn’t saved and the cars were actually cleaned—pressure-washed twice—there was no substance, and so they didn’t have it for the investigation,” argued McPherson.

Darlington County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Robby Kilgo explained that an investigation was opened to determine what the substance was on both cars.

“We found it to be pollen,” Kilgo explained in an interview with Newsweek. “There was no reason for us to collect a sample.”

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Though the possibility was raised that the car’s mysterious coating could have been pollen and not the result of foul play, McPherson remained convinced someone was behind it.

“It’s something,” she said. “Something that’s sticky that’s stuck to my car and took two different solutions to get it off.”

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“What do we need to do in Lamar? I say, we need to come together,” she said. “There should be something else…. But there’s always these remnants of racism.”

The mess on her car wasn’t what bothered her—it was speculating the intent of whoever might have made it.

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