JACKSON, Miss. —Fried chicken chain KFC said a franchised restaurant in Mississippi has hired an investigator to look into claims that an employee asked a 3-year-old girl and family members to leave because injuries she suffered in a pit bull mauling disturbed customers.
KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said the company is concerned that the Jackson restaurant’s internal investigation couldn’t verify the incident. An outside investigator will conduct an independent investigation, Maynard said.
KFC’s commitment of $30,000 to help with the child’s medical bills will not be affected by the investigation’s outcome, Maynard said.
Attorney Bill Kellum, who represents the family of Victoria Wilcher, said a statement would be issued later today.
Allegations that the child was asked to leave the restaurant were made earlier this month on the Facebook site Victoria’s Victories, which has followed the child’s recovery from the attack. KFC posted an apology the next morning and asked for more details about what happened.
Teri Rials Bates, the child’s aunt, runs the Victoria’s Victories Facebook page.
“I promise it’s not a hoax, I never thought any of this would blow up the way it has,” a post said. “I have personally watched this family go without to provide for Victoria. They have not and would not do anything to hurt Victoria in any way.”
No one immediately responded to a message sent through the Facebook page.
Earlier, the child’s grandmother, Kelly Mullins, told Jackson television station WAPT-TV that the child had just been to a doctor and stopped at the restaurant. After they ordered, an employee approached, she said.
“They just told us, they said, ‘We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers,‘” Mullins told the TV station.
In her posts, Bates said the child was attacked by three pit bulls while visiting her grandfather in April. Since then, she has undergone reconstructive surgery, Bates said.