Fake fundraising sites use photo of murder victim’s kids

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Memories of a murder are still haunting a Nashville family 12 years later.

John Lawrence was robbed and murdered just one month after  his 21st birthday in 2004.

“Everything happens for a reason but Lord have mercy, I just don’t understand that one,” said Bobbie Jean Waggoner.

A year and a half later The Tennessean did a story called “The Cost of Murder.”

Waggoner was interviewed about funeral costs for her son, therapy bills, and the hardships of raising the two young children Lawrence left behind.

“We were really struggling and it was just really sad,” said Waggoner.

A picture taken by photojournalist John Partipilo was used in the story.

That picture has since shown up on a GoFundme site called “Help Me to Help You.” It claims to help children of poverty.

More than $1,000 has been raised, but the family hasn’t seen a cent.

“Where is the money going because we definitely have not gotten anything,” said Waggoner.

A quick internet search found the image on at least a dozen other sites.

Partipilo says he has not licensed the photo to anyone.

“If you are trying to do good to help somebody I am all for that, but the proper thing to do is ask permission,” said Waggoner.

The photo also credits the website Americanpoverty.org, but Channel 4 News couldn’t find an active website by that name.

“If you’re going to donate money you do need to make sure you know exactly where that money is going to,” said Waggoner.

Wagoner says the illegal use of this picture is just opening old wounds.

“I know he is in a better place but I miss my baby,” said Waggoner.

The creator of the GoFundMe page has not returned Channel 4’s messages.

Partipilo didn’t know about the illegal use of his photo. He said he now plans to take action against those using it illegally.