The Georgia woman who started a highly successful GoFundMe campaign on behalf of Fred Barley, a 19-year-old whose story went viral after he biked six hours just to register for classes at a Georgia college, is now apparently questioning the young man's story, leading to the $184,000 raised being frozen, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
"Unfortunately, multiple questions have been raised about Fred's story. We've received conflicting information about his initial story, and we just want to make sure the donors and the public have all of the information available to them before the funds are transferred to a trust to pay for his education. We just want to do the right thing, and we've asked for the campaign to be reviewed," Blaney wrote in a Facebook message to the Success for Fred Facebook group.
Blaney, of Barnesville, Ga., had started the GoFundMe for Barley after learning of his story. Police officers came upon the 19-year-old Barley camping out in a tent on campus, where he said he intended to stay until the dorms at Gordon State College opened. Officers paid for lodging at a local motel with their own money after hearing out the story, and Blaney launched her campaign.
Now some $184,000 deep in donations, the two apparently are in the middle of a dispute, AJC notes. Barley, the site notes, objected to Blaney's plans to put the money in a trust, indicating that he would do so only if he could choose the attorney and the trustee.
By Wednesday evening, Blaney had posted her Facebook message, announcing the inquiry into Barley's story. According to AJC, it is not clear what questions have been raised.
“The funds raised are placed on hold and cannot be withdrawn until all the questions have been answered. … If they are not, we will refund the donors," GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said in a statement, AJC notes.
Barley has since released his own statement, saying, "I've had so many people attack my intelligence, my life, my character, and even more important, my integrity. I have not lied to any of you, nor will I."
"Whatever transpires between Casey and I, I want her to still know that I love her and forgive her. And Cole regardless of how your mom feels, you're still my new adopted lil bro. I love you and hopefully one day we can trade Pokemon And too everybody that truly supports me for being me, I thank you guys the most. I always had God in my corner, but it feels good to know that I have part of a nation there too," the teen added in his post.
According to the New York Times, Barley is currently in hiding after being accused of taking the money and running, even though the funds have yet to be disbursed. Blaney, the Times notes, faces the same accusations and is also keeping relatively quiet, speaking only through her attorney.