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Nampa family "out of luck" after friend allegedly takes off with GoFundMe donations for son's death

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jul 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-01 19:45:07-04

Thousands of dollars meant to help a Nampa family with funeral costs for their son was allegedly taken by a longtime family friend who volunteered to run a GoFundMe account for the grieving parents.

The account, which has since been closed, reportedly raised more than $2,000.

The fund was created after the death of Bronson Babcock, a Nampa native who passed away June 10 of last year while living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"He was a high school athlete," Bronson's dad William Babcock said. "He would've been 30 in November. He was a good kid."

Like hundreds of thousands of Americans, the young marine developed a dependence on drugs that ultimately claimed his life.

"He was clean last time I talked to him," Babcock said. "He didn't make it."

Hearing the heartbreaking news from the other side of the country, William and his wife Theresa were then faced with how to handle their son's body. Bringing him home would cost thousands.

"But we didn't have any money," Babcock said. "So then we decided we'd have him cremated, well that was going to cost a couple grand, and then have him mailed."

William's in-laws fronted the funds to cremate Bronson's remains and have him flown back to Boise from the east coast. A longtime friend of Bronson's offered to help the family raise money through a page on GoFundMe.

"I don't know anything about that stuff. I'm an old guy," Babcock said. "I never saw an amount, there was somewhere around 2,000 dollars it in."

Shortly after the account was created, the friend shared a small portion of the funds - around 300 dollars - with the parents with the promise much more was coming soon. Days turned into weeks and then weeks turned into months.

With a debt to his in-laws, William finally tracked the friend down on Facebook and she said she'd bring the money over the next day.

"The next day went by, and then it was going to be another day, then that passed on," Babcock said. "Then she disappeared off of Facebook, and her phone number got disconnected."

Unsure of what else to do, the couple filed a report with Nampa Police. The reaction wasn't what they were hoping for, since there was no written contract.

"We were SOL. Out of luck," Babcock said. "And I just thought, 'how can someone do something like this then get away with it?'"

Focused on paying back his wife's parents, William picked up a side summer job working fields in Canyon County.

"I'll chip away at what they had to pay," he says.

Now he wants others to be aware of what can happen. "Be connected to the account in some way so this wouldn't happen to you, you know, have your hands in there some way or another so that one person can't just do whatever with the money."

The Better Business Bureau has some advice. If you're associated with an account and are expecting to receive the money raised, make sure you're an administrator to the page, and if you want to make a donation to an account, make sure the person or family you want the money to go to is listed as the account recipient.