SHAMOKIN — Investigators in Northumberland County said a fundraiser for victims of a fire, may be a scam.
A website was set up after a teenage girl died in the fire in Shamokin, but police said the family never got the money.
The home along South Rock Street in Shamokin has become a large memorial filled with teddy bears and candles. “Fly high, beautiful” is written all over the door, many leaving messages in memory of Melissa Pangburn, 13.
“Just having everything out there is still a constant reminder of how sad and tragic it was, so it’s hard,” said Lori Masser, a neighbor.
The girl known as Missy died in December after her home accidentally caught fire. Officials said she was home that day because her school cancelled due to the weather.
Within a matter of days someone set up a website where people could donate to Missy’s family. Investigators said the website has since been taken down, and the money raised was never given to the family.
“The family members of this are going through a tragic time, and now in addition to that they’re dealing with the theft of money they were going to use for themselves,” said Det. Jeffrey Brennan, Coal Twp. Police.
Neighbors in Shamokin said it’s devastating knowing what happened there several weeks ago on that December morning, and now weeks later they said it’s heartbreaking that someone could potentially be using a 13-year-old girl’s death as a way to make some cash.
“It makes it even worse to me that somebody that lost their child, and now someone is benefiting off of that. Oh I can’t imagine,” said Masser.
Investigators said they have a person of interest from the Coal Township area, but no charges have been filed.