Last week, a number of media outlets reported on the story of Victoria Wilcher, a 3-year-old Mississippi girl recovering from a pit bull attack whose family claimed they had been kicked out of a KFC by restaurant employees who said the girl's facial injuries were distasteful:
"They just told us, they said, 'We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers.' (Victoria) understood exactly what they said."
The company apologized and said it would donate $30,000 to help cover Wilcher's medical bills. The media attention also helped Wilcher's family raise more than $135,000 through an online funding site. But yesterday, the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger reported that a KFC investigation could find no evidence that the family had been at one of its restaurants on the day they said the incident took place:
The source said surveillance videos show that at no time on the 15th were any people children in the store who match the description of Victoria Wilcher or [her grandmother, Kelly] Mullins. The tapes were viewed in both the Meadowbrook and Woodrow Wilson KFC locations in Jackson, the source said. In hours of tape, the source said one small boy with his parents is seen, but they order food and leave the store.
(The pit bull attack on Victoria Wilcher was reported publicly well before the KFC incident, and there has been no suggestion that she was not in fact injured.)
After the Clarion-Ledger published its story, a woman identifying herself as Wilcher's aunt said via Facebook that the family's account of events at KFC was "not a hoax" and that the newspaper's piece was "untrue."
A KFC source also told the Clarion-Ledger that the family's account was implausible because restaurant employees were accustomed to serving injured and sick customers, citing past examples of patrons who had been "shot in the face" or had "tubes and wire sticking out."