Doubts cast on family's claim that scarred girl was kicked out of KFC restaurant
By NBC News
Victoria has injuries to her face after being attacked by dogs in April.
JACKSON, Miss. -
The family of a young Mississippi girl who claimed she was asked to leave a KFC restaurant because her scars were disturbing other customers is sticking to their story despite allegations that it was a hoax.
The story provoked outrage on social media, and resulted in people donating thousands of dollars to the family.
Now the Laurel Leader-Call is quoting anonymous sources that say the family "bilked" the public, along with medical professionals, for over $135,000 along with free surgeries.
Victoria Wilcher lost her right eye and suffered a broken jaw, broken ribs and several puncture wounds when she was attacked by three pit bulls in April. She had just been released from the hospital after a month of recovery.
Restricted to only soft foods, Victoria's grandmother says she went to KFC to get her mashed potatoes and gravy. Kelly Mullins then claims an employee approached her.
"She said that we'd have to leave. We were disturbing her other customers. Victoria's face was disturbing other customers," said Mullins.
The newspaper quotes KFC as saying they haven't been able to verify the incident, although they're still committed to giving $30,000 to help the family pay the girl's medical bills.
The article pointed out inconsistencies in the grandmother's story, including surveillance tapes from two KFC locations near the hospital where the child had been treated. There were no customers matching the description of Victoria and her grandmother in either store, nor were there any orders matching what Mullins said she'd ordered (mashed potatoes and sweet tea) on those days.
A Facebook page set up for the girl states, "I promise its 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. The article it self say the investigation is not complete. It is not over until KFC releases a statement. The media outlet running this story is not connected with KFC. The family has not asked for anything, a attorney is handling all the media publicity for the family pro bono. 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."
A source from one of the restaurants says they're used to seeing injured customers who've come from the hospital and that they've never asked anyone to leave because of their injuries.
The family says it misquoted the grandmother about which location she took the child to.