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People Question Donations After Drug Arrest

January 15, 2013, 6:09 PM by Stephanie Gregory
Updated: January 15, 2013, 9:26 PM

People Question Donations After Drug Arrest

Nearly a month after a deadly Sioux Falls fire, investigators are still waiting to find the cause.

Three children died in the December 22 fire.  Now their mom, 34-year-old Rhiannon White, is facing drug charges.  Police say she had meth and ecstasy in her system at the time of the fire.

After the death of Michael Hensley, 16, Savannah Coon, 12, and Alivia Coon, 6, the community gave what they could to honor the three siblings.

Dakota Spirit, is one of many organizations that set up memorial funds.  Alivia Coon was a beloved member of the Cheerleading organization.

"She was such a great kid.  One of those kids who just thrived in Cheerleading and loved it so very much," Dakota Spirit director Robin Fritsch said.

Following news of White's arrest, Fritsch sent a statement to the families of group members saying the money raised is secure in a bank account.

According to Fritsch, Dakota Spirit raised hundreds of dollars in the memorial of Alivia, Savannah and Michael.

"It's a benefit account set up to tribute her.  None of the monies have gone to anyone personally or to the family," Fritsch said.

Dakota Spirit says through careful contemplation and prayerful consideration, they will decide how to best use the donations to carry on the memory of Alivia. 

Celebrate Church also set up a fund for the family; its pastor says the congregation will continue supporting the family.

The Crow Bar on Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls also held a big fundraiser on January 5.

A neighbor who only wants to be identified as "Paul" says he donated money at the Crow Bar; now he wants his money back.

"I did donate at the Crow Bar the night of the fundraiser and it makes me wonder now what's going to happen," Paul said.

KELOLAND News received the following statement from the Crow Bar about that fundraiser.

"We are surprised and concerned about the information coming forth regarding the Dec 22nd house fire, which took the lives of Michael, Savannah, and Alivia.  The benefit which was held at the Crow Bar on Jan 5th was held in memory of the children and our focus remains on the children.  The tragic fact remains that 3 children lost their lives in that fire.  Our goal to honor the children's memory has never wavered.  With the support of business and community, we raised $8000.  That money was raised in memory of the children and any money not needed to pay for funeral expenses will be donated in memory of Michael, Savannah and Alivia to a local charity, which has yet to be determined.  No money has or will be given to Rhiannon or David White."

White is out on bond; her bail was set at $5,000 but we are told she did use a bondsman to get out of jail.

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