The story of three year old Victoria Wilcher went viral after her family claimed the little girl had been asked to leave a KFC in Jackson, Miss. because of her scars resulting from an attack by her grandfather's pit bulls.
After issuing a profuse apology, KFC donated $30,000 to the family for medical expenses along with multiple plastic surgeons and doctors who offered to cover her surgeries for free.
Now, reports have surfaced revealing that the occurrence was an elaborate hoax that never actually happened.
The Laurel Leader-Call reports that the entire incident in the restaurant was formulated as an elaborate publicity stunt to raise money. After the KFC franchise where the incident allegedly took place became suspicious of the timeline presented by Victoria's family, they hired an independent investigator, who has yet to release their final report.
However, a source says that the story is clearly false due to basic facts that don't check out. According to the Laurel Leader-Call, security footage from the store does not show Victoria or her grandmother (who claimed to be with her at the time) had even gone to KFC the day the incident allegedly occurred. In addition, no one had ordered mashed potatoes or sweet tea.
According to the report, more than $135,000 has been raised through the online donation site, gofundme.com, since June 13. The fund was created by Bates on April 28. The funding before the chicken caper came from seven donors for a total of $595. Several doctors even agreed to waive fees, offering free plastic surgery and pledging to cover all the costs of reconstructing the little girl's face.
The Jackson, Miss. KFC franchise owner Kirk Hannon released a statement on Friday:
"We continue to take this report seriously, and of course have great sympathy for Victoria and her family," the statement read. "Since we have so far not been able to verify the incident in our internal investigation, we have also hired a third-party consultant to conduct an independent investigation to help us resolve this matter."
According to Bill Kellum, the lawyer representing Kelly Mullins, Victoria's grandmother, said that the family has not decided whether or not to take the money from KFC. However, KFC will reportedly honor the donation even if the incident is proven to have been faked:
Dick West, who is the president of West Quality Food, one of the largest franchisees in the KFC chain and the owner of the local KFCs, posted on the Facebook page of a Jackson television station, "When the allegation was first made, KFC pledged $30,000 to go to medical expenses and started an investigation to find the truth. They have pledged the money even if it is proven that the incident never happened. At this point their story is full of holes. Any thinking person who follows their timeline can see it. The event at KFC never happened."
"The thing is, no matter if this story is true or not, a little girl is being hurt. Mostly, by her grandmother who is exploiting her. Shame on you, grandmother. Shame on you," wrote Tim Green of QMix.com.
"This is the face of a girl that needs more than a grandmother who takes advantage of her condition."