“As some of you may know, our very own Kenny Hamner and his family were the victims of criminal activity that took the life of his beloved mother. Kenny also incurred some injuries as part of it,” reads the now-removed GoFundMe campaign started by a co-worker to assist the Florida man who survived what everyone believed to be a brutal attack by unknown assailants which killed his mother. Over $6000 quickly came flooding in.
“Sending love and prayers your way, Kenny,” says one donation of $25. “You are in my prayers. Stay strong,” says another.
74-year-old Sheila Hamner was murdered on December 10 by machete, and police were looking for “a dark-skinned Hispanic male wearing jeans and a dark blue t-shirt” just after the supposed crime. This past Tuesday, her son Kenny — who was hospitalized after the attack in wounds the sheriff now says were most likely self-inflicted to hide his guilt — was arrested for her murder.
WTVJ of Miami reports on the charge casting a shadow over GoFundMe efforts to assist Kenny during this difficult time:
Shortly after the news broke, people posted on the Kenny Hamner’s Fund page, demanding their money back.
In the evening the site had been taken down, but the money had already been paid out to the family.
Before the campaign was removed, organizer Juan Dyer — who no doubt acted in good faith not knowing the full circumstances surrounding the incident when he created the page — sent a communication to donors:
As you may have seen from the news reports, Kenny was charged with first-degree murder of his mother’s death yesterday. Because of this recent event, I feel the nature of this tragedy has reached a level of complexity outside of the intended goal of honoring Sheila’s death and therefore have chosen to close this campaign while due process of law continues its course.
Access to funds collected was given to Sheila’s daughter Lisa on Saturday, December 17th and I trust they have been used to honor Sheila. However, I understand that some people may choose to do something different with the funds given the recent news. I have contacted GoFundMe for direction and they said that a refund can be requested at www.GoFundMe.com/Guarantee
I’m very sorry to hear about the turn this tragedy has taken and acknowledge that you, just as me, meant to simply help a family in need. I hope these events do not deter you from helping others in any other time of need.
GoFundMe stated donors will be issued refunds, but those refunds must be requested through the GoFundMe Guarantee link and will not be issued automatically despite the fact that the platform has a record of each and every donor. *shrug*