By Chris Camire
LUNENBURG -- The mystery over who defaced a Lunenburg High School football player's home with racist graffiti took a new twist Wednesday, as court documents revealed the student's mother is now being investigated as a suspect.
The development shocked this sleepy community of 10,000 residents, which saw hundreds of people unite in support of 13-year-old eighth-grader Isaac Phillips in the wake of what initially appeared to be a case of school bullying.
Now a vastly different story is emerging two weeks after Superintendent of Schools Loxi Jo Calmes forfeited the high school's Thanksgiving football game against St. Bernard's Central Catholic High School in response to the incident.
A police affidavit obtained by the Sentinel & Enterprise Wednesday details how Phillips' mother, Andrea Brazier, refused to cooperate with the criminal investigation, made false statements and misled police. She has not been arrested or charged with any crime.
The affidavit describes a meeting Brazier held with investigators in which an FBI agent suggested to Brazier that she was the one responsible for the graffiti. Brazier responded by saying, "OK." She denied that her husband, Anthony Phillips, or her son were involved.
On Monday, police executed a search warrant at the family's home at 234 Chase Road. They were looking for spray paint, as well as paperwork containing Brazier's handwriting.
After a 90-minute search, police took the following items from the home: five live rounds of ammunition, one can of Krylon Indoor/Outdoor spray paint and one can of Krylon Fusion spray paint.
The case that has captivated the region began on Nov. 15 when Brazier told police that she and her family awoke to see the following phrase spray painted on their home's foundation: "Knights don't need n******."
Lunenburg's team nickname is the Blue Knights. Brazier is white; Phillips' father is black.
Brazier said her son had been repeatedly harassed by classmates because of the color of his skin. He transferred to a Leominster middle school shortly after the graffiti was discovered.
On Monday, Lunenburg police released a statement indicating they could find no conclusive evidence that any member of the high-school football team was responsible for the graffiti. The police affidavit, meanwhile, lays out the following series of events detailing why investigators are now focusing their attention on Brazier.
* On Friday, Nov. 15, Brazier called police after she said she discovered the graffiti while taking her dogs outside. She told police she could not be sure when the vandalism occurred since she had not been in her backyard "in a week." On Nov. 18, however, Brazier would tell police that she walks her dogs in that area "every day" so they can "go to the bathroom in the woods behind the house."
While speaking with police on Nov. 15, Brazier said her son had been bullied by other players on the football team. She suggested that other players may have been jealous that an eighth grader was playing on the same team as freshmen and junior-varsity players. She also told police that her son's bicycle tire had been slashed while parked outside the school and that his football cleats were thrown in the trash by his teammates.
Brazier also told police that her six-year-old daughter heard someone outside the bedroom window the night before the graffiti was discovered. The daughter told her mother that when she "looked outside she saw someone wearing feathers in their hair almost like an Indian person." Brazier said she cold not be sure if her daughter was telling the truth.
Later that day, police spoke with Lunenburg High School Assistant Principal Robert McGrath, who told police that "Isaac Phillips is a large kid and seems well liked."
* On Saturday, Nov. 16, police went to several local hardware stores to see if any had recently sold blue spray paint. Aubuchon Hardware sold blue spray paint to a Lunenburg Water Department employee. Walmart sold blue spray paint to a painter. MAKI Building Centers sold blue spray paint to the owner's wife, and Rocky's Ace Hardware sold one can on Nov. 12 but could not provide police with surveillance video.
* On Sunday, Nov. 17, police offered to remove the graffiti from the home with a special machine that would wash off the paint without damaging the foundation. The parents declined the police's help.
* On Monday, Nov. 18, FBI agents observed two burnt aerosol cans in a fire pit outside the home.
The student's father initially told authorities the cans were Rust-Oleum spray paint used during a living-room renovation project. He then changed his story twice, first explaining he did a construction job on a blue house but that the spray paint in question was white. He later said the cans contained Flex Seal used to fix house gutters.
* On Tuesday, Nov. 19, police asked Brazier what she could remember about the person her daughter had reported seeing outside her window the night before the graffiti was discovered. This time Brazier told police her daughter saw the person on Monday, Nov. 4 -- 10 days before she initially said her daughter saw the person.
Brazier said her daughter woke up to a noise and one of her dogs barking and saw a person "with blue hair, a feather head dress, and a pink nose outside her bedroom window." Brazier said her daughter said the person at her and then walked away.
Brazier said she used the flashlight application on her cell phone and walked outside her daughter's window to show her that everything was all right and no one was there.
* On Thursday, Nov. 21, police asked Brazier to come to the Lunenburg police station to provide a written statement regarding the incident. Brazier did not show up during the time she agreed to meet police. She later called the station and explained she was busy running errands for a birthday party.
* On Monday, Nov. 25, police asked Brazier to come to the Lunenburg Police Station to meet with investigators. When Brazier arrived she started the conversation by telling police "she was done with the whole incident." She said she had painted over the graffiti and no longer wanted to participate in the police investigation, saying she could not sleep at night and the events were "ripping her family apart."
When police told Brazier they had no leads and would have to restart the investigation, Brazier said her son was thriving in his new school and repeated that she wanted the investigation to end. During this conversation an FBI agent told Brazier that the reason she wanted the investigation to stop was because she was the one who spray painted the graffiti on the house. Brazier replied, "OK."
When Brazier was asked if her husband or son spray painted the graffiti she said, "No." Brazier was upset and crying during this exchange and told authorities they "did not understand."
As Brazier was leaving the police station following the questioning, she told Lunenburg Police Det. Jeffrey Thibodeau "that she had to talk to (her husband) first and then she would call" Thibodeau back. An hour later, investigators went to the Brazier residence to follow up and were confronted by the father at the home's front steps, who said he "needed time to absorb all of this, it was too much, and he needed to protect his family."
Both of Phillips' parents have stopped communicating with the media, school administration and police under the advisement of an attorney, according to Brazier.
Follow Chris Camire on Twitter @chriscamire.