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Flora fire reward fund questioned by donors, organizer says he's refunding those who donated

Posted at 9:30 PM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-17 11:44:32-04

FLORA, Ind. – Donors who gave money to a reward fund aimed at catching the person responsible for the death of four girls in a Carroll County house fire in 2016, believe their donations were misused. 

Hundreds of dollars were collected in a Facebook group called Flora’s Fantastic Four by Brian Muehe, who calls the situation a misunderstanding and says he's working to refund all the donations he received. 

A woman named Misty, who heard about Muehe’s efforts, said she wrote him a check for $50, but said her money was never given to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

“I personally was crushed that Brian did this,” she said. “I trusted him other people trusted him. We had faith in him and were shocked and devastated that money never went were it supposed to go."

Another woman in Arizona named Mara said she felt connected to the Flora story and encouraged her friends to donate.

"He's caused so much heartache and chaos across social media,” said Mara.

On May 23, Muehe posted the group had raised $300 for the fund. RTV6 checked with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security which manages the reward fund and agency officials said they had not seen any money from the Facebook collection.

Muehe reached out to Call 6 Investigates on Saturday saying he's already returned money collected to support a reward fund for the victims of the fatal Flora fire.

In a phone call after 11:10 a.m., Muehe said he had a falling out with members of his Facebook group and has already refunded  $150 to his friends that donated. Muehe said he's attempted to refund $130 to donors who've blocked him on Facebook but can't because they won't accept his messages.

Muehe told Call 6 Investigates his intent was never to scam anyone and called this entire situation  a "misunderstanding."

The $5,000 fund was established by Crime Stoppers, and $300 was raised by the public. Officials said the best way to donate to the reward fund is to contact the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

RELATEDInvestigators: Fire that killed four Carroll Co. sisters started in kitchen | Community, first responders coping with grief after four sisters killed in Carroll County Fire | Fire that killed four sisters ruled intentional, no suspects | ISP talking to 'persons of interest' in Flora fire