I-Team: Donations to Families of Crash Victims Questioned

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WARREN, Ohio -- State and local officials are looking at a fundraiser account that was set up to help pay for funeral expenses of six Warren teenagers killed in a crash last month.

Some of the family members of those killed filed a report with Warren police detectives Wayne Mackey and John Greaver April 11 after they said they were unable to get any answers about the account, including how much was raised.

"The numbers that he gave wasn't adding up, and the families were concerned," said Anthony Jones, who is related to two of the victims.

Warren Law Director Greg Hicks said the city contacted the Ohio State Attorney General's Office Charitable Law Division for assistance.

Warren Council President Bob Dean, who established the fund, said he has made the account as transparent as possible. He stressed that he had six ministers approve any expenditure before it was made.

Jones and Tosca Owens, the aunt of 15-year-old Daylan Ray, said they had asked Dean to provide them with bank statements but that he has yet to do it.

"We just want answers, just like anybody else. You take this responsibility on, and if you want that responsibility on, you are accountable for it," Owens said.

But Dean said he has been up front with the families and believes they are angry because they didn't get any of the money.

He estimates that more than $61,000 was raised.

"Everything that went into that bank will go for their funerals, not to the families to buy big rims on cars or dope, but the family's funeralization," Dean said.

Family members said they are upset over the comments Dean has made about them and said they would use any money they received for necessary expenses.

Dean does admit to over-paying for some of the funerals. He said each funeral home received $6,000, even if the bill was only $2,800. He said it was up to the funeral homes to give any remaining money to the families.

The families said they didn't receive any funds and aren't asking for it.

Dean also said the rest of the money will be used to pay those who donated services, such as Pineview Memorial Park. The cemetery buried the six teenagers.

Paul Strum, a manager at the cemetery, said his company doesn't want the money.

"We buried the children, worked with the families and I thought it was over," Strum said. "And then we started getting these phone calls from people saying that those who donated wanted money back, and I just said to them look, when you donate something, you donate it."

No charges have been filed, and it's not known how long the investigation will take.

But Dean believes the investigation has ended. He said he met with an official from the attorney general's office at his home and believes an agreement has been worked out.

He said he is going to try to transfer the money to a local charity later this week.

For more information on the crash, click here.