A heartwarming story that went viral has taken a dramatic turn. The woman who started the GoFundMe account for the homeless Conyers teen to attend college has now frozen the account and claims he's lying about his background.
Freddie Barley has posted videos thanking everyone who gave, but now he may never see that money. More than $180,000 from hundreds of donors is at stake.
"Freddie is a young man of his word," his stepdad, Daniyel Jackson, told 11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross.
When Freddie Barley told his stepdad he was going to bike six hours from Conyers to Gordon State College, Jackson believed him.
"I was surprised. I never would have done something like that." But Jackson calls his stepson strong-willed. "Freddie is very determined. He says, 'I'm a man! I can do this!'"
Jackson said his stepson had been living in a tent for about a year before police spotted him on campus and paid for him to stay in a motel. Casey Blaney started a GoFundMe account for Freddie days later that went viral - collecting $184,000.
But just weeks after the thank you videos and heartfelt posts, Blaney now says she doubts Freddie's story and she froze the GoFundMe account.
"As far as Freddie, he's not going to lie. So he's upset. Something had to happen between Casey and him, they had a disagreement or something," Jackson said.
11Alive spoke with Freddie Barley by phone. He said there was a disagreement about "a personal matter".
Freddie's new boss, Debbie Adamson, owns a pizzeria in Barnesville. She said the teen is dealing with a difficult situation involving a lot of money in a short amount of time.
In a Facebook post, Blaney she said she wants Freddie to answer more questions about his background after hearing conflicting stories. She hired a trust lawyer to look after the money, and now, Freddie's also hired an attorney. The two who first posted a touching picture are no longer speaking.
"I'm a little disturbed by her saying that this whole thing is made up," Freddie's stepdad said.
While Casey did not respond to multiple requests for comment, people on her Facebook page are telling her to keep her chin up, and that it will all be figured out.
Freddie's stepdad is telling him the same thing: "I know God is on Freddie's side. He's been on his side. So he'll see him through this as well."
According to Freddie's lawyer, he is working with Casey's lawyer to set up a trust where the fund will be looked after professionally. If the account is found to be fraudulent, the money could be returned to the donors, but his attorney is hopeful they can figure it out and use the money for Freddie's education.