Donation Dust Up
A dispute over money briefly takes the focus off of where it should be: the hunt for a killer.
While North Little Rock detectives continue to search for the person who killed Samantha Olson, attempts to raise money in support of that effort is causing a bit of a dust up.
This is one of those stories where no matter who is right things look bad. either a big-hearted person is being wrongly accused by a grieving family or a man raising money in the name of a murder victim is keeping some of the cash for himself.
Police continue to believe that the driver of a maroon Ford F-150 shot and killed 31 year-old Samantha Olson for no apparent reason as she drove down a North Little Rock street with her nearly one-year old daughter in tow.
An $11,000 reward awaits anyone who can help find the driver of this 2007-2010 model truck...with its tinted windows and chrome trim.
Right from the start Jason Benbrook decided to help raise money to either support the family or raise the reward, even though he had no connection to them.
"This is America," explains Benbrook. "That's what makes America great is people helping other Americans. I mean that is what I was trying to do is help a family that needed help. If something like that was happening to my family I would want someone to step up and do it for me."
But the victim's family wants Benbrook to stop.
In a Facebook message sent to KATV, Olson's sister states that Benbrook has been raising money "...not on behalf of our family and the donations are not being made to the family, the widower or the child of the victim."
That "...he has been collecting on his own without the knowledge of the family or our approval."
And that "...we believe the money he collects are for himself."
We met Benbrook at the Metropolitan branch bank where he says he has made four deposits.
North Little Rock police have confirmed that fact and are not investigating his fund raising, although they too have asked Benbrook to stop.
"No good deed goes unpunished," says Benbrook. "I hate to say it like that. I love the family. I know you all think I'm crazy for just knowing them for four days but that's a good family. They're salt of the earth people and I wouldn't take a dime from them. And I didn't take a dime from them."
Two big problems the family had with Benbrook's persistent fund raising efforts were the lack of accountability and the perception that they (the family) might be more interested in raising money than catching a killer.
Air date: August 30th, 2013