A Mississippi woman is standing behind her claim that she and her three-year-old granddaughter were asked to leave a KFC restaurant because of facial injuries the child suffered in an attack by three pit bulls.
But Kelly Mullins and her family are declining the fast-food giant’s offer to donate $30,000 towards Victoria Wilcher’s medical bills.
In an article published in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger on Wednesday, Bill Kellum, Mullins’s lawyer, said the family turned down the money “because we didn’t feel it was appropriate to accept it after everything KFC has done.”
But Kellum said Mullins "maintains that what she said happened at the KFC is true" in response to media reports that allege her story is a hoax.
The case grabbed international headlines in June, after allegations about the incident were posted to Victoria’s Victories, a Facebook page created for the family's supporters.
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On June 12, the group’s administrator posted a photo showing Victoria smiling shyly in spite of her facial scars and cartoon-decorated eye patch, and wrote, "Does this look scary to you? Last week at KFC in [Jackson] this precious face was asked to leave because her face scared the other diners."
KFC probes story of girl's family
Victoria was attacked by three pit bulls at her grandfather’s home in early April. The child lost her right eye and suffered several fractures.
Mullins has said her granddaughter had just been to a doctor's office on May 15 when they stopped at the restaurant. She ordered mashed potatoes for Victoria because she thought the hungry child could swallow the soft food without chewing.
Mullins says she was then approached by an employee.
"They just told us, they said, 'We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers,'" she told WAPT-TV in June.
KFC offered an apology the following day and made its offer to cover some of the child's medical expenses.
Later in June, the Laurel Leader-Call newspaper reported that a source close to an investigation into the case said that, according to security footage, Mullins and her granddaughter never set foot inside the KFC location on May 15.
KFC has brought in a third-party investigator to probe Mullins’s allegations, but has said it is committed to helping the family "regardless of the outcome."
Wilcher’s plight has garnered the family more than $100,000 in donations from wellwishers. The Facebook group accumulated more than 32,000 likes before it was taken down or made private.