Forty donors gave $1,320 to a GoFundMe campaign after 11-month-old RaeLynn Martinez passed away. These 40 donors believed the GoFundMe campaign was collecting money to help Alexia Coria, the toddler’s mother, cope with the loss of her child. According to the Washington Post, suspicions that the GoFundMe campaign was not created with the best intentions originally sparked when a campaign to help the divorced grieving father of the child also appeared.
It was on Thursday that the Colorado mother was arrested for her connection to the toddler’s death. The next day, on Friday, the mother’s GofundMe campaign was shut down. The website determined that the GoFundMe campaign was “for raising money for the defense or support of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity.”
This tragic turn of events all started on September 7, when the police of Fort Collins, Colorado, received a phone call about RaeLynn Martinez, who had been seriously injured.
The police of Fort Collins, Colorado, arrived at the home of the toddler to find her mother, Alexia Coria, to be extremely distraught. The Colorado mother told the police that while she was in the bathroom, her toddler tried to climb up to the seat of her high chair but ended up falling off the chair. The toddler had blood dripping from her mouth. When the mother picked her daughter up, she noticed her arms became “dangly.”
The Colorado mother went on to tell police that she placed her toddler in water repeatedly for 30 to 45 minutes in an attempt to keep her away. Her boyfriend, Juan Canales-Hernandez, told police she texted him to come over to the house before the toddler was rushed to the hospital.
This story appeared to be a heartbreaking accident that could happen to any parent. However, things changed the next day when the Colorado mother changed the story she told police about what had happened to her toddler. The next day, the Colorado mother told police she was picking one of her other children up from school when her boyfriend called to tell her that her toddler had been injured.
When the story changed, the boyfriend of the Colorado toddler told police he had been playfully tossing the toddler in the air and she accidentally hit her head. He claimed to have placed the toddler in the high chair, but she wasn’t secured to the chair. According to the Washington Post, the boyfriend became frustrated with the toddler and took another chair and smashed it into the toddler’s head. Because she wasn’t secured to the chair, she was knocked out of the chair and fell onto the ground.
The Washington Post goes on to report that the boyfriend was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, child abuse that resulted in death, and attempt to influence a public servant. The boyfriend of the Colorado toddler’s mother is currently being held at Larimer County Jail without bond.
At the time that the Colorado mother’s boyfriend was left with the toddler, he was on parole for a child abuse conviction because he had previously beat one of his other girlfriend’s children. Back in 2013, the son of his previous girlfriend was discovered to have over 100 bruises, as well as several bite marks, all over his body. He had a bruised liver, and his pancreas was torn in half. The boyfriend told the police that he was wrestling and rough-housing with the boy and never meant to hurt him.
The GoFundMe campaign in question was set up by the Colorado mother’s friend Oliva Ayotte. Below is the description from the GoFundMe campaign which has now been removed.
“RaeLynn Martinez is the 11 month old daughter of Alexa Coria and Isaac Martinez. Tragedy hit this family this week and we are asking for funds to help out Alexa and her family in their time of need. Raelynn was the youngest of 3 babies and will be missed dearly.
“As a close friend and neighbor of Alexa and her family we are asking for help with funeral costs. All donations will go directly to Alexa Coria herself and is aware this campaign is set up. We thank you for all of your support and donations it is one less stress for their family at this time.”
Donors wasted no time giving money to this grieving mother from Colorado. “Stay strong mama” and “You and your family are in our thoughts” were a few of the comments left by strangers who thought they were donating money to a grieving mother trying to get over the accidental death of her toddler.
It was not until her biological father, Isaac Martinez, created a GoFundMe campaign which raised $3,850 as of early Friday that people started to become suspicious of the mother’s campaign. The arrest of the Colorado toddler’s mother only fueled the suspicions as the mother was charged with child abuse resulting in death, accessory to a crime, and attempting to influence a public servant. At this time, it is not clear whether the mother retained a lawyer or entered a plea bargain. She has, however, been released on bond.
Police believe the mother and her boyfriend created the initial story they told police in order to keep her boyfriend out of jail. GoFundMe believes the campaign was created in order to raise money to pay for the defense for the mother and possibly the boyfriend in regards to the toddler’s death. GoFundMe did confirm that the Colorado mother did not receive any of the $1,320 that was donated before being arrested.
GoFundMe has previously reassured people, according to the Washington Post, that less than 10 percent of all GoFundMe campaigns are fraudulent. The site claims to take fraud very seriously and has multiple layers of protection in order to protect both donors and the campaign organizers. In order to protect the donors, the funds cannot be withdrawn if a campaign is flagged as fraudulent until the campaign is investigated by GoFundMe.
The funds donated to this Colorado mother through GoFundMe have been returned to the individuals who originally made the donations.
[Featured Image by Brian A Jackson/ShutterStock]