JACKSON, Miss. - The online fundraising campaign where people could go to make donations to help out 3-year-old Victoria Wilcher has been temporarily suspended. GoFundMe CEO Brad Damphousse made a statement Tuesday saying anyone who contributed can request a refund:
In lieu of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the 'Victoria's Victories' online fundraising effort, GoFundMe has temporarily suspended the campaign until the full truth is made clear. Donors wishing to request a refund may do so at: http://www.gofundme.com/contact.
Before Damphousse released that statement, he said the website's internal safeguards had been activated which placed the hold on the account balance.
First and foremost the GoFundMe Team would like to wish the very best to 3-year-old Victoria Wilcher while she recovers from her injuries. While the controversy surrounding Victoria's fundraising campaign is unfortunate, it's important to remember that the investigation is ongoing and the party representing the campaign is standing by the original story. GoFundMe's internal safeguards have been activated, placing a hold on the account balance until the investigation is complete.
Though the majority of giving on GoFundMe occurs directly between friends and family, viral campaigns will receive the attention and support of the greater public. Donors should always exercise caution before giving to GoFundMe campaigns. With over a million campaigns created and over $330M raised, it's not feasible for GoFundMe to research the claims presented by each and every user. Accordingly, donors should only give to people they personally know and trust - advice stated on each and every GoFundMe campaign. For more information about staying safe on GoFundMe, please see: http://www.gofundme.com/safety.
Victoria was badly injured when three pit bulls attacked her in April, leaving her with a scarred face and multiple injuries. It was reported that Victoria was asked to leave a Jackson-area KFC restaurant because her injuries were scaring the customers.
KFC conducted an investigation to see if they could find any evidence to support the allegations. They also hired a third-party consultant to look into the matter. After both investigations did not reveal that the incident occurred, KFC spokesman Rick Maynard made this statement:
Like the rest of America, the KFC family has been moved by the story of Victoria’s injuries and recovery. After the alleged incident was reported to us, two investigations took place, including one by an independent investigator. Neither revealed any evidence that the incident occurred and we consider the investigation closed. We are honoring our commitment to make a $30,000 donation to assist with Victoria’s medical bills. We hope everyone keeps Victoria in their thoughts and prayers. She will certainly be in ours.
The Laurel Leader-Call newspaper reported that a source told them that the heart-wrenching story that Victoria was asked to leave KFC resulted in the family bilking the public and professionals for more than $135,000 in cash, as well as gifts and free surgeries.
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