Sunday, September 23, 2018
News Roundup

Family of toddler killed in Largo taking down GoFundMe page

The family of Jordan Belliveau, the 2-year-old killed last week in Largo, said it plans to take down a GoFundMe page meant to raise money for the boy’s funeral amid confusion about where people should donate to the cause.

"The family shut it down because there were other GoFundMe pages that we did not authorize," said grandmother Jessica Belliveau. As of Monday at about 5 p.m., the campaign had raised $2,565 from more than 100 people.

Police found Jordan’s body in the woods behind the Largo Sports Complex at Lake Avenue and McMullen Road last Tuesday. His mother, 21-year-old Charisse Stinson, had reported him missing early the previous Sunday, saying a stranger offered them a ride, hit her in the head and left her in a park without her son. Largo police said she later confessed to concocting that story after she hit Jordan in the face and left him in the woods. Stinson faces a charge of first-degree murder.

RELATED: Police: Mother faces murder charge in death of 2-year-old Jordan Belliveau

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Guardian objected to Largo boy being reunited with mother

BACKGROUND: Caseworker visited Largo family one day before child’s disappearance

The case led to the creation of a Facebook page, "Fly High Jordan Belliveau," which was roiled Monday by questions about online donations to the family. The Tampa Bay Times found one other GoFundMe page, opened Saturday and meant to raise money for a memorial for Jordan at the Remember our Children Park in Madeira Beach. As of late Monday, it had raised $100 of a targeted $2,000.

Belliveau said only the first GoFundMe page, "R.I.P Jordan Jr.," was sanctioned by the family. It was started last Tuesday with the goal of raising $5,000.

The family has since worked with TR Dallas Funeral Services in Clearwater, planning ceremonies and a cremation for Jordan. Owner Ted Dallas directed potential donors to his business’ PayPal account, which he said had raised $548 by Monday evening.

"We can monitor the PayPal," Dallas said, but he did not have any control over the GoFundMe campaign.

Belliveau said anyone still looking to donate should give money directly to the funeral home. The GoFundMe campaign, she said, was helpful, but ultimately became confusing. The account remained active Monday evening.

"All funds raised on this campaign will be delivered to the family," GoFundMe responded through a statement. "This campaign is currently active. Generally speaking, campaign organizers have the ability to close a campaign."

The funeral home is donating services, Dallas said, including the embalming and other costs for a visitation and funeral. That has a value of about $6,000, he said, but does not include "merchandise."

"We read the story and I felt kind of bad for the family and the situation. You’ve got to have a heart," Dallas said. "I’m not profiting off any of this at all."

The extra costs are expected to reach about $5,600, according to Belliveau.

"The services do not include casket, flowers, arrangement, programs … all that, the urn, those are not provided, we have to pay for those," she said.

Dallas said he has received a call from at least one person who offered to cover the balance of whatever Jordan’s relatives cannot pay.

The family will also hold a car wash Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the funeral home, according to Belliveau.

"All and any money donated will go to the funeral and anything leftover will be donated to a charity for children," she said. "If we make more than what we need, it’s being donated."

Jordan’s funeral, she said, will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Clearwater and is open to the public.

"Little Jordan became everybody’s baby," Belliveau said. "We want the public to get their closure as well, not just us."

Times staff writer Gabrielle Calise contributed to this report. Contact Zachary T. Sampson at [email protected] or (727) 893-8804. Follow @ZackSampson.

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