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The Jackson KFC accused of asking a 3-year-old girl to leave because of facial scars suffered during a pit bull attack has hired a third-party to investigate the claim after an internal review could not verify the incident.

In a statement sent to The Clarion-Ledger Friday by KFC corporate officials, the fried chicken chain says they will give $30,000 to the family of Victoria Wilcher regardless of what the new investigation unveils.

"We continue to take this report seriously, and of course have great sympathy for Victoria and her family. Since we have so far not been able to verify the incident in our internal investigation, we have also hired a third-party consultant to conduct an independent investigation to help us resolve this matter," Kirk Hannon of the Jackson KFC franchise said in a statement.

"We have always prided ourselves on respect for all people, and we will continue to emphasize this to all our employees. In addition, regardless of the outcome of the current investigation, KFC Corporation has committed $30,000 to assist with Victoria's medical bills. Along with KFC Corporation, we are determined to get to the truth and address the situation appropriately."

The incident drew the attention of the corporate office and people all over the world last week after a Facebook post reported the girl and her family were asked to leave the restaurant because the injuries she suffered in April were bothering customers. The post was part of a thread posted on Victoria's Victories, which follows medical updates for the girl.

Since the media reports of the allegation went viral a week ago, the family, using the crowdsourcing fund website, gofundme.com, has raised more than $133,000 as of Friday afternoon. Before the Facebook post was reported by the media, the family had raised less than $300.

Victoria's family has retained Jackson attorneys Lindsey Turk and William S. Kellum.

When asked to respond to the KFC statement Friday, Turk said she had no comment.

Victoria's Victories also has reported that a Las Vegas plastic surgeon, Dr. Frank Stile, has offered his services to Victoria at no cost to the family through a nonprofit foundation.

Turk confirmed that Stile was to fly to Jackson this morning to meet with the family. Turk said the family has not yet accepted any offers of free services from anybody.

A Facebook status report says Victoria suffered a broken upper and lower jaw, nose, cheekbones and right eye socket and lost her right eye from the attack. Her bottom jaw has been reconstructed, and additional surgeries await.

Victoria was attacked by three pit bulldogs at her grandfather's Simpson County home. Her grandfather, Donald Mullins, and his girlfriend, Rita Tompkins, were charged with child endangerment as a result. Donald Mullins shot and killed the dogs.

Contact Steven Ward at (601) 961-7075.

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