PayPal to refund donations sent to family of Georgia toddler who died in hot car
(CNN) — If you donated to a fundraising campaign for the family of Cooper Harris, the suburban Atlanta toddler who died after being left in a hot car, you may soon be getting a refund.
YouCaring.com, the site where the fundraising effort was hosted, has taken the campaign down, and a spokesman for one of the two payment processing firms used in the effort, PayPal, said Friday that it will refund all of the contributions it handled.
The second firm, WePay.com, did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on its plans for donations it collected.
As of July 2, the effort had raised $22,677 of the $25,000 goal set by organizer Heather McCullar, according to a snapshot of the page maintained by Google. The page is no longer available on the YouCaring.com website.
“The campaign was recently removed from the site so that the controversy and debate surrounding the Harris matter did not become a distraction to the millions of other donors participating in a wide variety of active fundraisers currently taking place in our community,” the company said in a statement.
It was not immediately known how much each service had collected, or if any of the money had reached the Harris family.
On June 21, Alabama Credit Union posted a note to its Facebook page saying donations were being funneled to an account there “owned by Ms. Harris to use purely at her own discretion — but she clearly understands the intent of those donating to the fund.”
The campaign was established after Cooper’s father, Justin Ross Harris, was charged with murder and child cruelty in the June 18 death of his 22-month-old son.
But it was posted before revelations that he had searched for information about hot-car deaths or bombshell allegations in a court hearing last week that he had visited a website dedicated to a child-free lifestyle.
A detective also said Harris was exchanging sexually explicit text messages with various women while his son was locked inside the sweltering car, painting a much different portrait of Harris than the dedicated and doting family man described by friends and family.
Harris has pleaded not guilty. In the preliminary hearing last week, Harris’ attorney — H. Maddox Kilgore — said his client had tragically forgotten his child was in the car.