This story came by way of a Gofraudme reader who wishes to stay anonymous, which we can respect. As soon as we read “boater” we immediately thought of the three young men in Minnesota who disappeared while boating last year; the woman who started a GoFundMe page for their families is currently working out a court case for felony theft after raising over $27k and reluctantly turning it over thanks to a loan from her dad.
Officials in Fall River, MA are still combing South Watuppa pond to find Emerson Belirio. The Herald News reports:
The search continues for whom authorities are saying is a 35-year-old Fall River man who went missing Saturday afternoon after falling overboard while boating in the South Watuppa Pond.
“The man was a passenger on a 20-foot Sea King Cabin Cruiser. He, along with his wife, their two children, and another married couple who own the boat were all on the vessel at the time of the incident,” reported Gregg Miliote, spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office conducting the investigation as the search continued.
“It does not appear suspicious and alcohol does not appear to have been involved,” Miliote said in a statement he released Sunday.
He was not releasing immediate information about the identification of the parties. Michael Hoar, chief of staff for Mayor Jasiel Correia II, also said the identify of the man was not yet being released and that other family was being contacted.
The local Fall River Reporter identified the man and then there’s the GoFundMe page, which speaks as though he is already dead despite the fact that there is an ongoing search to find him.
Before his body has even been found (OMG how morbid) there is this GoFundMe campaign expecting the worst. The “Comunidade Brasileira de Fall River” — as some nameless organization and not even an actual person — fired up the following (which we have archived here for your viewing pleasure):
It is with a heavy heart that this gofundme account is set up to benefit Leirinay DaSilva whose fiancé, Emerson Belirio, age 35, passed away. Their family, including their three children and friends were enjoying a day on a boat at South Watuppa Pond, when Emerson jumped in to swim and no longer emerged. Emerson’s mother, who lives in Brazil, had arrived in the U.S. to visit her son just a few days prior to the incident.
Emerson was a loving partner, father, son and friend. Those who were lucky enough to know Emerson know that he always had a smile on his face and loved his family deeply.
We are setting up this account to assist Leirinay with all of the costs that will be associated with the funeral arraignments as well as some financial support as she now has to care for three children. Any donation will be greatly appreciated and will help this family be able to grieve this tremendous and horrific loss, without having the additional burden of worrying about finances. All money raised will go directly to Leirinay and their children. God bless you and rest in peace Emerson.
The fuck? You aren’t even sure he’s dead and his name isn’t even out there in the media, why are you doing this?
We reached out to the Fall River Police Department and as of 7:23pm Eastern, they have not yet located a body though they are out there trying to locate Mr Belirio. We’ll check back in with them later as their search is still ongoing, but everything about this tasteless fundraiser reeks of fraud.
So far, the GoFundMe page has reached $2355 of a $10k goal for a man who hasn’t even been declared dead yet. Is this what we’re doing now? I mean really.
Update: We received the following anonymous tip last night
“Hello, I know Emerson Belirio and who created the gofundme account. Unfortunately (because fraud would be better than his death) this is not a fraud page and the family does not have the financial means to pay for any costs that will soon come. Those present on the boat know that he did not survive because he never resurfaced and their boat did not move for over an hour. The page was made on the broader “brazillian community” name, because no one individual wanted to take credit for it. It was not linked to a facebook because it was only to be shared with those that actually knew the family, not to go viral. (in other words, you can’t find the page by searching on gofundme–something you can go once its linked, as it is currently set up someone who knows him/the page has to share it) Anyways, this article made me very sad because I know the family and know there is no fraud associated with the page. I hope you reconsider posting this until more comes to light, but understand if you wish not to take it down. I just wanted to share that because all the facts aren’t out to the media, doesn’t mean the family does not know them to be true and the anonymous person who thinks this to be fraud clearly is not close to the family and doesn’t have any of the facts. Creating the page faster than the media reports on a tragedy does not make it fraud. this is a single mom of three now with no other income coming her way. She can use any help ASAP.”