Phoenix police have collected DNA samples from three vulgar letters mailed anonymously to an Ahwatukee Foothills woman after she obtained an order of protection May 22 against Tempe Union High School District Superintendent James Buchanan.
Investigators have not yet identified the source of the DNA, but police have interviewed Buchanan as an investigative lead and have asked him to provide handwriting samples to compare with the writing on the envelopes.
Police also have collected letters from the woman's home with known handwriting by Buchanan. Police submitted those samples to a lab for handwriting analysis on Sept. 16, and results are pending.
Although a police report lists Buchanan as a suspect, Phoenix police spokesman Tony Morales said the report relies on initial interviews with the victim and should not be interpreted that investigators consider Buchanan a suspect.
"We do not consider a person a suspect until we have probable cause to arrest that person," Morales said.
In a written statement released June 25, Buchanan acknowledged having an extramarital affair with the 43-year-old woman from November 2002 until about February. The woman alleges Buchanan began to stalk her about February or March after the relationship ended.
The three anonymous letters, postmarked in June and July in Phoenix, include crude comments about the woman and her daughter, a senior in the Tempe Union High School District.
The first letter accuses the woman of "making porn shows" with her daughter and says: "For your own kids' sake and ours, just go away."
The second letter, postmarked June 30, threatens the woman's daughter with "a tragic senior year."
To protect the identity of the girl, the Tribune is withholding the woman's name.
Buchanan told police Sept. 3 in a voluntary telephone interview that he had nothing to do with the letters or a series of silent phone calls received at the woman's home after she obtained the order of protection.
Police instructed Qwest Communications to trace the source of all suspicious calls made to the woman's home from May to October. One anonymous call came July 2 from Warner Park Surgery Center in Chandler — the day after the woman received the letter postmarked June 30.
Buchanan initially told police on Sept. 3 that he did not know if he had ever visited Warner Park Surgery Center. In a second phone call later in the same day, however, Buchanan confirmed he had visited the center on June 20 while a member of his family received outpatient care. Buchanan said he did not visit the center on July 2.
"(Buchanan) denied having any involvement with making the telephone calls or sending the letters," the police report says.
Buchanan told police he has had no contact with the woman since May 21, the day before he was served with the order of protection. In a statement e-mailed Friday to the Tribune, Buchanan said he has fully cooperated with the police investigation.
He also said any contact between him and the woman from Feb. 23 to May 21 "was initiated by her and consisted of my responses to her repeated telephone calls."
The woman, however, saved telephone and e-mail messages from Buchanan this spring that she said show a different series of events leading up to the order of protection.
Copies of the messages were provided to the Chandler Justice Court for review prior to Justice of the Peace Ronald D. Johnson's granting of the order. Phoenix police also have seized copies of the messages, which the woman made available to the Tribune.
"Once I return to Arizona, I will call you and we can discuss our plans for the future," Buchanan writes in one e-mail from Nebraska dated March 16.
In a phone message four days later, a speaker who identifies himself as Buchanan says, "Let's talk about the future." In a similar phone message on March 27, the speaker refers to the woman as "babe" and says he is eager to meet with her.
Verizon Wireless phone records for Buchanan's cellular phone — which belongs to the school district — show numerous calls made to the woman's number between Feb. 23 and May 21.
"This has deeply, emotionally and physically affected my family and me, especially my daughter," the woman said. "We are anxious, yet awaiting patiently for police to complete their investigation."