The family of a disfigured 3-year-old Mississippi girl who alleges they were asked to leave a KFC restaurant because her appearance was scaring customers, insists the story is true despite the company's claims that it was a hoax.
A spokesman for KFC has said that the incident never occurred, based on a story by a local newspaper that claimed surveillance footage inside the restaurant proved they were not in the restaurant. KFC said the franchise hired a consultant to investigate the Wilcher case after being unable to verify either claim.
However, the company said it will still honor a pledge to donate $30,000 toward the girl's medical bills to repair her deeply scarred and partially paralyzed face.
The family of Victoria Wilcher, who was attacked by three of her grandfather's pit bulls in April, claim she visited a KFC in Jackson, Mississippi in May with her grandmother and was asked to leave by staff.
According to the grandmother, Kelly Mullins, staff told her Victoria's appearance was frightening other costumers and it would be best if they left.
"They just told us, 'We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers,'" Mullins told WAPT-TV earlier this month. Victoria "understood exactly what they said," Mullins said.
Fundraising site suspends campaign for girl allegedly kicked out of KFC http://t.co/ASePGUC9eS
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMailUS) June 25, 2014
"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," he said.
An unidentified source cited by the Laurel Leader-Call newspaper in Mississippi disputed the family's claim on Monday. The source claims the child and her grandmother do not appear on surveillance videos from two KFC locations and there are no records for the food the grandmother said she ordered.
Since the story broke, the family has apparently received offers for free surgeries for Victoria and more than $135,000 in donations.
The Go Fund Me fundraising website has since suspended the family's page.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 25, 2014
A message posted by Victoria's aunt on her Facebook page said the newspaper got the story wrong.
"I promise it's not a hoax," the message said. "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."
Image via YouTube