A Little Girl’s Allegations Dubbed Hoax as Crowdfunding Campaign Shut Down

Victoria-Wilcher

She made headlines and received a ton of support from all over the country, but Victoria Wilcher’s  story about what happened at a Jackson KFC raised many questions.

kfc_logoAccording to her grandmother, Kelly Mullins,  Victoria was attacked by pit bulls at her grandfather’s home in April and incident the three-year-old scarred and she lost her right eye. After her doctor visit on May 15th, the little girl and Mullins stopped at the fast food restaurant to grab a bite to eat. While enjoying the meal, the family was asked to leave by one of the employees, claiming her scars “frightened” the other customers.

The family created a Facebook page on June 12th called “Victoria’s Victories,” which documented the situation and shared details about the little girl’s recovery post the dog attacks. The little girl’s story went viral in the course of a few days and the social media page generated 190,000 likes. The KFC corporation even apologized to Victoria and offered to pay $30,000 for her upcoming surgeries. Along with the generous donation from the restaurant, the family also launched a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe for other expenses and raised over $130,000.

Although the family claimed the story was legitimate, according to the Laurel Leader-Call, the sources within KFC’s investigation discovered there was absolutely no evidence that Victoria was even in a KFC. Surveillance videos both KFC locations in Jackson show no customers matching either Victoria or Mullins’ descriptions.

The chain’s computers also show no record of any orders that included mashed potatoes and sweet tea in the same transaction, or even the two items as part of a larger order. Apparently the KFC location that was originally accused of kicking Victoria out hasn’t been in business for years. While the restaurant chain continues to investigate, officials state they will still give Victoria the $30,000.

Rick Maynard

Rick Maynard, a spokesman for KFC parent Yum! Brands , provided an updated statement saying, “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.”

Owner of the KFC franchise, Hannon Food Services, stated, “As of today, neither Hannon Food Services nor the outside firm involved in the consultation has found any evidence to verify that the incident took place at our restaurant on Woodrow Wilson Drive. Nevertheless, we’ll continue to exhaust every possible avenue until we’re absolutely sure we have all the facts,”

Meanwhile, the family faced fraud accusations. Victoria’s aunt, Teri Rials Bates, took to the now closed Facebook page and wrote, “I promise it’s not a hoax, I never thought any of this would blow up the way it has. The article circling the web calling this a hoax is untrue… Please do not believe untrue media. I have personally watched this family go without to provide for Victoria. They have not and would not do anything to hurt Victoria in any way.”

Brad DamphousseThe family’s GoFundMe campaign was also closed and crowdfunding platform’s CEO Brad Damphousse said in a statement, “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.”

ABC News reported Damphousse also said a hold has been placed on the account balance in the meantime. He said donors who wish to request a refund can do so on the GoFundMe website.


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