CNN: No evidence girl with scarred face asked to leave KFC

(CNN) — There is no evidence to support a family’s claim that a scarred 3-year-old girl was asked to leave a KFC in Jackson, Mississippi, because she was scaring customers, KFC said Tuesday.

Victoria Wilcher was badly scarred in April in a pit bull attack. Her grandmother, Kelly Mullins, had told CNN affiliate WAPT that she took Victoria to a Jackson KFC after a doctor’s appointment, and a restaurant employee asked them to leave because the girl’s scars frightened other diners.

Two investigations took place, including one by an independent investigator, and neither revealed any evidence that the incident occurred, KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said in a statement e-mailed to CNN.

The family-maintained Facebook page called Victoria’s Victories was taken down Tuesday, but before that happened, this statement was posted:

“I promise its not a hoax, I never thought any of this would blow up the way it has. … 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.”

Despite repeated calls by CNN, neither the family nor the family’s lawyer could be reached for comment.

After the family’s story became public, donations poured into the family’s fund-raising effort at http://www.gofundme.com. KFC apologized on the family’s Facebook page and donated $30,000 for Victoria’s treatment.

The CEO of the fund-raising webpage GoFundMe, Brad Damphousse, issued a statement Tuesday suspending the campaign and offering to refund donations.

“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,” the statement said.

The Leader-Call newspaper in Laurel, Mississippi, broke the story casting doubt on the family’s story, using unnamed sources.

“The sources spoke on the condition of strict anonymity because they were not permitted to speak on the record,” the newspaper reported.

Pit bulls attacked Victoria in April while visiting her grandfather, from whom Kelly Mullins is divorced, authorities said.

The dogs bit the girl all over, but especially on her face. She has severe facial scars and lost sight in her right eye and the ability to move the right side of her face, Mullins told WAPT. She wears an eye patch with a cartoon character on it.

After the family’s claim became public, KFC conducted the two investigations.

“Neither revealed any evidence that the incident occurred and we consider the investigation closed,” said the company’s statement released Tuesday. “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.”

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

11 comments

  • Lisa

    Shame on you, grandmother, for taking advantage of your grandchild’s condition in this way. If you needed money you could have gone on the news and told your story – lots of people would have donated. Now you’re just a common criminal if it turns out you lied about the whole thing.

  • concerned citizen

    If this is indeed a hoax and KFC is still going to be nice enough on the $30000.00 then it should be placed in a
    trust fund for the child when she turns 21 and have an attorney as custodian of the money. In no way should the
    grandparent or parents be able to get their hand on that money. The child did not have any knowledge of this nor
    would she have understood what they were doing.

  • unkown

    As sorry as these parents are even if they did put the money in a trust fund. They would still find a way to get the money, even if its when the child turned 21 and was awarded the money. I am seeing it happen to another child today.

  • Karinttt

    No way can anyone pull back money… this is still a child who desperately needs help. However, I believe the grandmother should be prosecuted for whatever criminal acts she may have committed. Someone outside the family, and not involved with the family, should be designated as a trustee for the money to see that it is spent specifically on the little girl. What an awful person the grandmother must be to make up this story. There are so many legal and reputable ways she could have tried to get help for this little girl. It isn’t that hard to do it the right way.

  • Darlene Keeton Dreisch

    The grandmother should be prosecuted for fraud and/or theft by deception. Any money collected should be court ordered to be paid for Victoria’s medical bills. The child is the injured party here, and she played no part in this scheme. Any remaining money (if any) should be put into a trust fund for her college and/or future medical bills resulting from her injuries. Maybe the grandmother was desperate, but it’s no excuse for criminal behavior. In addition, the reporter should have corroborated the story before it went to print. Who prints a story like this without supporting evidence? I’m assuming all media who reprinted this story relied upon the original reporter and publisher to check the facts. Sadly, not all journalists do their job as they should. If so, this story wouldn’t have been printed in the first place. These days, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the original reporter conspired with the grandmother’s hoax in order to profit from the child’s tragedy. If so, the reported should be prosecuted, as well.

  • Scallywagandvagabond (@ScallywagNYC)

    The question is how did Victoria Wilcher’s family come to expect that they could pull this off and didn’t they think at some point that they would be exposed (and to what else)? It will be interesting to see whether KFC will actually stand by their pledge or will the family teeter on the axiom that they have yet to decide whether they will accept their pledge- hardly the stance of a family legitimately wronged …? Or are we to believe that the media got it wrong again and the Wilchers are innocent after all? And now their Facebook and fund pages are closed too…

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2014/06/kentucky-fried-chicken-hoax-how-victoria-wilchers-family-pulled-a-fast-one/

  • Devona Watson

    I hate that a grandparent would stoop this low. But I do hope and pray that the surgeon that was going to help Victoria repair her face and also get her a prosthetic eye holds to that for Victoria’s sake.

  • Geo

    And this breaking information was provided by the companies own investigation. The company whose image was tarnished.The company that really “lost face” is going to be straight up and honest.You people really are “sheeple. KFC is responsible and KFC said “we investigated and the little girl wasn’t even in our store”. Hmm, sounds like a snow job to me. Would you expect KFC to say anything else other than she wasn’t there?

  • Geo

    KFC could not say “oops, one of our employee’s made a mistake” because if they did, they would open themselves up for litigation. If they admitted it in the media, they would have no leg to stand on in court. Why would they admit that the girl was in one of their restaurants? It is much easier for them to pay up and shut up. I would be surprised if there wasn’t some form of settlement outside the media view with a non-disclosure agreement. The little girl gets the money needed but the poor grandmother has to look like a fraud. What would you do? Would you take the money and shut up or refuse the money on principles. If it were my grand-daughter, you could call me whatever you wanted to as long as she got what she needed.

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