Financial stress often compounds the loss of a loved one and the same held true for this family.
Close friend Ingrid Sanchez formed a GoFundMe page for Anthony's dad Casimar and stepmom Maria. A victim's fund covered most of Anthony's funeral expenses but money is needed for a headstone.
His dad planned to use any leftover donations from the GoFundMe to set up a memorial to be used to help other young adults with autism learn interview and job skills. Casimar told us that his son dreamed of helping others with autism.
Donations pushed the GoFunMe page balance to over $4,200 but then GoFundMe froze the account. In an October email to the family GoFundMe stated:
“There have been complaints that the information presented on your campaign is intended to mislead donors. Reports have been made that these funeral expenses have been covered by someone else.”
Casimar and his wife said they submitted the outstanding funeral home bill, but the fund still remained frozen until the family contacted us in December.
I-Team Investigator Jackie Callaway confirmed with Harmon Funeral home that the Naiobas owed $700 for the funeral. It took a few tries but after multiple emails GoFundMe responded to our inquiries. Three days later the site followed up with the family and reopened the account.
GoFundMe never responded to our specific questions but the site's terms and policies say:
"GoFundMe may place a hold on the campaign...if we have reason to believe that information provided by a campaign organizer is false..."
Anthony's dad and stepmom say now they'll pay what they owe others and begin setting up a memorial fund in Anthony's name.