KFC announced Wednesday that their investigation into three-year-old Victoria Wilcher allegedly being kicked out of one of their restaurants is closed. Officials concluded that the incident never happened.
Both a KFC team and a third-party investigator researched the allegations, and found that Wilcher did not go to a KFC on May 15, as her grandmother alleged.
The grandmother, Kelly Mullins, claimed that they were asked to leave a Jackson, Mississippi KFC last month because the child's scars bothered other customers. Wilcher has undergone several surgeries to repair a broken right eye socket, cheekbones, nose, and jaw caused by an April pit bull attack. Her right eye was removed and the right side of her face is paralysed.
She wears a patch over her right eye, and has scars across her mouth, jaw, and neck. Her grandmother claimed in a Facebook post that the injuries apparently disturbed a KFC employee three weeks ago.
"They just told us, they said, 'We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers,'" Mullins told WAPT-TV.
Last week, KFC apologised for their employee's alleged behaviour, and promised to donate $30,000 to the girl's medical bills "regardless of the outcome" of the investigation.
The Associated Press reports that the family has received gifts and more than $135,000 in donations since the KFC story went viral. Wilcher's aunt, Teri Rials Bates, said Tuesday that the story is not a hoax.
"The article circling the web calling this a hoax is untrue," she wrote on Facebook. "The investigation is not complete. It is not over until KFC releases a statement."
KFC released a statement the same day in which it said there was no "evidence that the incident occurred and we consider the investigation closed".
The Facebook page "Victoria's Victories" has since been deleted.
Crowdfunding site GoFundMe also deleted the family's donation page, and is offering refunds to donors.
The family has not responded to requests for comment.