GoFundMe money from false assault accusations to be returned
MAHNOMEN Minn.—At first authorities were told Brian Smith's face was burned by three bad men who attacked him.
After law enforcement found his allegedly stolen truck twenty miles from home, the story changed.
"When we talked to him, he was very apologetic," said Mahnomen County Sheriff, Doug Krier.
Brian Smith admitted that he lied to authorities. His truck wasn't stolen, but he was burned; not by three bad guys, but by himself.
"It was a failed suicide attempt and it went a little bit further than he wanted it to," said Krier.
Before Smith told the sheriff's what really happened, his family had raised a lot of money for him on a GoFundMe page.
"It was upwards of $8,000," said Krier.
The account was shut down by family as soon as the truth came out. Now the questions is what happens with the money raised? Sheriff Krier tells WDAY-TV, he spoke to the family about their plans, "They are going to return it to the people who donated anything."
And according to Krier, the money they can't return will go to a good cause, "It will be sent to a children's burn unit."
Attempted suicide is often a sign of depression or mental illness, so some are saying the GoFundMe money should be used to get Smith some help, but the sheriff says the family is already on top of that.
"I know that the family did get him some help and he is going through a process. We're letting him take care of himself and family is helping him with that," said Krier.
With the GoFundMe money hopefully making its way to the right hands and help on the way for Smith, those involved can now focus on the future.
WDAY-TV did some more digging into this unique case and discovered pictures from the Mahnomen County Sheriff's Department.
They show Brian Smith's truck burned to a crisp, hardly anything remains to what was once a red Ford F-150.
WDAY-TV asked the sheriff about how it ended up so far from Smith's home.
He says that information is still under investigation.