JACKSON, Miss., June 24 (UPI) -- The story about a 3-year-old Mississippi girl who was asked to leave a KFC because of her scarring swept across the Internet, but the story is reportedly a hoax.
According to the Laurel Leader-Call newspaper, Victoria Wilcher and her grandmother never visited the KFC location.
Victoria Wilcher's grandmother, Kelly Mullins, claimed that an employee at a KFC in Jackson said the little girl's face was disturbing other customers and asked them to leave. Wilcher's face is badly scarred after three pit bulls attacked her.
The story quickly went viral and the family reportedly took in more than $100,000 in donations online. KFC also pledged $30,000 toward Wilcher's medical bills.
A third-party mediator was brought in to investigate the situation and an unnamed source claims that neither Wilcher nor her grandmother could be seen on surveillance tape from either of the KFC restaurants in Jackson. There is also no transaction that matches the order that Wilcher's grandmother described -- mashed potatoes and sweet tea.
"We have never ever, ever run off anyone, and we have seen some really, really sick people come to the restaurant from the hospital," the source said. "We've had people come in who were shot in the face. We've had them with tubes and wire sticking out. We never have asked anyone to leave."
"It just didn't happen."
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, KFC will honor the commitment it made to assisting Wilcher with her medical bills.
"We continue to take this report seriously, and of course have great sympathy for Victoria and her family. 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," Jackson KFC franchise owner Kirk Hannon said in a statement to WJTV.
"We have always prided ourselves on respect for all people and we will continue to emphasize this to all our employees," Hannon continued. "In addition, regardless of the outcome of the current investigation, KFC Corporation has committed $30,000 to assist with Victoria's medical bills. Along with the KFC Corporation, we are determined to get to the truth and address the situation appropriately."