Of course, Perezcious readers will recall Dominick’s scary situation: back in April, the 6-year-old boy suffered second- and third-degree burns after an accident in the backyard of the Bridgeport, Connecticut property where he lived. At the time, Dominick’s story went viral. His family quickly raised more than $600,000 on a GoFundMe page after allegations came out that the little boy had supposedly been bullied by his neighbors, an 8-year-old boy and his 11-year-old brother.
This week, doubts began to creep in about whether Krankall was truly bullied after the Bridgeport PD found no wrongdoing in the case and closed their investigation into the incident. At that time, surveillance footage from the backyard appeared to show that Dominick was not struck in the face with a flaming ball, as was one of the original allegations — and in fact, at one point, one of the older boys appears to have tried to help the little kid escape the flames.
Now, as Krankall continues to recover from his burns, the family of the 8-year-old boy identified at Stefano Giacobbe is speaking out.
Stefano’s mother, Laura Giacobbe, and Dominick’s mother Maria Rua both spoke to DailyMail.com this week to share their sides of what has become an increasingly contentious story. Rua has taken to defending herself as people begin to question whether Dominick was bullied. The mom, who says she has already refunded at least $1,000 of the money people sent in via GoFundMe, told the news outlet:
“I don’t have access to the money. This is Dominick’s money. He is the one who went through this.”
Laura was not as conciliatory with her now-former neighbor, though.
The accused bully Stefano’s mother slammed Rua to the news outlet, criticizing Dominick’s mom for allegedly being the one who was supposed to watch the kids that day and failing to do so:
“Where were you [Maria] at the time that they were kicking a ball around in the backyard? You never came downstairs. Just admit it Maria Rua you are wrong! You are wrong! It’s done. You are a liar!”
Laura added more about her 8-year-old son, and the aftermath of him being accused of bullying:
“He [Stefano] is hurting now. You put him all over the world and he is not a bully and I am not going to let you you use my son all over the world as a bully. I want it cleared. I think [Maria] owes him an apology. … [Stefano] lost friends that were very close to him. He loved him like they were his own brother. He lost a friend that he really cared for. She put it out there that he was a bully and my son is not a bully.”
For his part, Stefano told the outlet that Dominick was engulfed in flames after he jumped on a “cup on fire” on the ground. The older boys had supposedly tried to keep Dominick from doing that, the 8-year-old accused bully claimed:
“Me and my brother and his brother told him not to step on it. He ran over and jumped on it and stomped on it and it exploded.”
Rua refused to back down from her stance on her son having been bullied, though. Dominick’s mother slammed Giacobbe’s allegations about her supposedly lying for GoFundMe money, and insisted the recently-released surveillance footage doesn’t tell the whole story:
“Everyone is saying me and my family are liars. This is Dominick’s story this is what happened to him and I was not aware of what exactly happened until we got to the hospital. Dominick said a tennis ball was thrown at his face that was lit on fire by Stefano. No one can see that because it is the the part of the video you don’t see and don’t see it happen because it is not in camera’s view.”
“Dominick told me that Lorenzo, Stefano’s older brother, tried to help him by putting out the flames on his face and clothing. The video doesn’t show what is happening in that corner of the yard. The video doesn’t show the entire story.”
Rua recalled how on the day of the horrific incident back in late April, her fiancée Aaron Krankall swept up Dominick and rushed him to the bathtub while she called 911. An ambulance then rushed son and father to the burn unit at the local Bridgeport Hospital, while police investigating the scene put Maria in the back of a squad car.
Crying, she explained:
“They told me I wasn’t under arrest but they were just detaining me. It was only about 15 minutes but I just wanted to be with my son. I just wanted to be with my son. I told them to take me to the hospital in handcuffs. I just wanted to get to the hospital.”
Dominick would spend the next three weeks in the hospital recovering from his burns. Thankfully, he has since been discharged and sent home. He is “healing and in good spirits” now, according to Rua. Still, it’s been a challenge to keep the energetic boy away from the outdoors as he recovers:
“That is one of the toughest things. He wants to be outside and play but he has new skin growing in and he cannot be in direct sunlight.”
Rua also said the family has since taken the $600,000 they received via GoFundMe and bought a new home. She explained how Dominick is ecstatic about his new family space as he continues to recover:
“Dominick is so excited to have his own home. A backyard to play in and he wants to share a bedroom with his three-year-old brother. He is literally counting down the days.”
Giacobbe, on the other hand, is frustrated and angered that the GoFundMe funds were used in such a way. Slamming Rua for having used her son “for financial gain,” Giacobbe said:
“She needed a home to live in. She wanted to move into a home. She made that statement. She used my child to use him as a bully. We are very upset.”
As for the GoFundMe side of things, it would appear that the company is investigating whether there’s more to the story here. A spokesperson for the website explained to the news outlet they are “unable to comment on active investigations,” and added:
“Our hearts go out to Dominick as he continues to recover. The most important thing to us is protecting the kindness of our community by protecting their donations through the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.”
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Originally published at perezhilton.com