Victims of 'Cookie Monsters' Get Hate Mail

The Durango cookie conflict isn't over yet.

The spat between two teens from the southwestern Colorado town and one of their neighbors over a batch of cookies they baked last summer has garnered national publicity over the past week. It has led to donations for the girls.

For Herb and Wanita Young (search), it has all been a nightmare.

"We have got horrendous phone calls, tons of hate mail, threats to our life," said Herb Young in a telephone interview Thursday.

The saga began in July when Taylor Ostergaard (search), 17, and Lindsey Jo Zellitti (search) decided to bake chocolate chip and sugar cookies for their neighbors. They placed them outside with large red or pink construction-paper hearts that carried the message, "Have a great night" and were signed with their first initials: "Love, The T and L Club."

Things went sour when they approached the Young home. Wanita Renea Young, 49, said she heard someone banging on the door late in the evening and saw "shadowy figures" who refused to answer when she called out to them. The teens later said they did not answer because they wanted the treats to be a surprise.

A frightened Young said she spent the night at her sister's home, then went to the hospital the next morning because she was still shaking and had an upset stomach.

The Youngs said they tried to settle the dispute, even enlisting their clergy. The teens say they offered to pay the medical bills, but Young insisted on going to small claims court where a judge awarded about $900 in medical costs.

As they story spread, Denver radio station KOA raised more than enough money to pay the court award. The girls, who did not immediately return messages, were expected to be in Denver later Thursday to accept a check from the station. They have already been invited on national television shows and a cookie company has created a "Kindness Cookie" in their honor.

Things have not gone as well for the Youngs.

"It's horrible, nobody has heard our side," said Herb Young, adding the couple has had to hire a lawyer. "I don't believe the girls meant for this to happen. But they could have prevented it from happening if they had just shut their mouths when they came out of [small claims] court. Now they are caught in something they can't control."

The parents of one of the teens asked for a restraining order against Herb Young, accusing him of making harassing phone calls. He admitted calling the Ostergaards once after hearing the teens were talking to a newspaper and at one point said "the gloves were off," which apparently was taken as a threat.

"My home isn't a home any more," Young said. "We are all on pins and needles."