In the early morning of June 27th, 25-year-old Vance Edwards of Middleburg, Florida was out driving with friends who had been drinking when he spun out and sadly went flying through the windshield; Vance died on the spot, and his passengers ended up in the ICU but recovered. He had just celebrated a birthday earlier that month.
In the hours following his death, the now ex-girlfriend of Vance’s father put up a GoFundMe campaign to cover Vance’s cremation. It read:
Today we lost a good friend, son, brother and father. Vance Edwards was a great guy full of life and energy. He not only leaves behind two sons and a daudaughter but also family and friends who thought the world of him. His passing happend so fast and he didnt have insurance so we are asking the community for help.
Shortly thereafter, Vance’s grandparents in Connecticut paid his cremation in full, but that still left the $1710 raised for his cremation on GoFundMe; that’s where this whole story starts.
Cheyenne Barton — the mother of one of Vance’s children — says campaign organizer Lisa Deboyd (ex-girlfriend of Vance’s father) changed intent mid-campaign and withheld funds raised for Vance’s cremation from her child and Vance’s other two children after promising she would turn those funds over. The original campaign read:
The later campaign read:
Emails we received from Lisa confirm in fact, GoFundMe told her to go ahead and change the intent of her campaign, and that’s exactly what Cheyenne Barton takes issue with.
While Cheyenne says Lisa intentionally withheld money from her and the mother of one of Vance’s other children, Lisa tells another story. She says that Vance’s mother Christy told her she didn’t want the mothers of Vance’s children “to blow the money.” Lisa says she withdrew a total of $1568.02 from the campaign and intended to hold onto it to buy gifts for Vance’s children, while Cheyenne says Lisa initially told her she would give that money directly to the mothers of his children. The campaign has since been taken down, but an archive is here.
Facebook messages between Lisa and Julia — mother to one of Vance’s other children and friend to Cheyenne — tell yet another story.
As far as we understand it, Lisa, Cheyenne, and Julia were quite close leading up to this. The fight over GoFundMe funds has torn them apart, and resolution seems unlikely. Both Lisa and Cheyenne said Lisa considered Vance “her #1 son” before his death.
We asked Lisa if she would do it all over again if she could and she told us “No ma’am, I will never use GoFundMe again. Everyone came out of the woodwork saying well Vance owes me this, Vance owes me that.”
The case is currently under investigation at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office according to a detective in the financial crimes division. It’s unclear at this point where the $1568.02 is, but Lisa told us she has most of it in cash.
Calls made to Vance’s grandparents were not returned. We’ll update you if and when there’s a resolution to this tragic case.