KFC said it is "committed" to donating $30,000 to a little girl who was allegedly asked to leave a restaurant due to her scars, despite investigations by KFC saying they did not find "any evidence that the incident occurred."
But a family member says accusations that the story is a hoax are "untrue."
Victoria Wilcher, 3, was allegedly asked to leave a KFC restaurant in Mississippi because her scars from a dog attack were frightening customers, her grandmother said. Wilcher was injured in an attack by her grandfather's pit bull in April.
Wilcher's grandmother, Kelly Mullins, told WAPT-TV she was driving her granddaughter home from the hospital when they stopped at a KFC on May 15.
"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 claimed.
Rick Maynard, a spokesman for KFC, provided an updated statement from the subsidiary of Yum! Brands this afternoon, 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."
An unnamed source this week told a local newspaper in Laurel, Mississippi, that surveillance video does not show a customer matching Mullins' description and that no records could be found matching Mullins' claim of ordering mashed potatoes and sweet tea around the time when she said she visited the restaurant.
The owner of the KFC franchise, Hannon Food Services, told WAPT-TV today that hundreds of hours were spent reviewing video surveillance.
"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," Hannon Food said in a statement.
On April 28, Teri Rials Bates, who describes herself as Victoria's aunt, started a GoFundMe page to help pay for medical bills, according to the website. The page has raised more than $134,000 with the goal of raising $200,000.