Trigger warning: infant death
The GoFundMe page set up by a Clearwater, Florida mother accused of murdering her 10-month-old baby has been deleted and refunds will be issued to everyone who made a donation, GoFundMe said on Sunday.
Victoria Jackson, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder after she confessed to suffocating her son with a pillow, police say. On May, Jackson called 911 at 9:20 p.m. to report that she had found 10-month-old Malachi unresponsive in his crib, according to an arrest report. He was transferred to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:36 p.m.
On June 1, Jackson set up a GoFundMe page asking for donations to cover the funeral expenses. "I want to give my son the best memorial service I can. He died last Friday night," she wrote. "I've never been so heartbroken in my life. Please help me take care of my baby one last time."
Last Wednesday, police were contacted by a friend of Jackson's who said she admitted to intentionally suffocated her son, the arrest report says. After police listened in on a phone call to Jackson, during which she made incriminating statements, she was arrested on Friday. She confessed to suffocating Malachi with a pillow while he slept, according to police. The GoFundMe page set up by Jackson had received more than $4,000 in donations before it was removed on Saturday.
During the police interview, police noted that Jackson showed signs that she may be suffering from mental health issues and that she made suicidal statements after her confession. On Twitter, both before and after her son’s murder, Jackson wrote about her moods and seemed to indicate she was struggling.
UPDATE: GoFundMe has removed the fundraiser created by the Clearwater woman accused of killing her infant son. GoFundMe said it will be issuing refunds to those who donated https://t.co/Re3O34By29 pic.twitter.com/C8aDvj9nws— Spectrum Bay News 9 (@BN9) November 3, 2019
On May 10, two weeks before her son’s death, she tweeted, “I already feel the downward spiral starting. I honestly don’t even know what to do when I get like this. It usually ends pretty badly even if I see it coming from 100 miles away.” The day after his death, on May 25, she tweeted she had “nothing left to live for,” and in the following days, she wrote that she only wanted to cry and had never missed someone so much. She also implied to she had done something wrong and hoped to find the strength from God to not mess up again.
"Tragedy is a time where you need to be the most compassionate and loving and kind and she totally just took advantage of that," said Marah Gonzales, who knew Jackson and donated to the page. "No one knew the real story of what happened other than her and whatever friend that she told."
"It was just kind of so manipulative to the point she was consistently reaching out and consistently like please donate to this, and this, but with very little details," Gonzales added.
On Sunday, GoFundMe said they began refunding donors. "It's important to know that the platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means all donors are fully protected by a refund policy," the company said.
"It’s definitely a tragedy, but it’s definitely like a sobering thing to understand things like this do happen and it’s tragic," Gonzales said. "It’s how can we as a community get better from it, like how can we grow from it."
In Florida, first-degree murder is a capital offense in Florida and only has two possible sentences: death, or life without the possibility of parole.