- On Thursday, Deborah Sanchez made a Facebook post alerting users to a fraudulent fundraiser for her deceased daughter
- Jorden Marie Simms died by allegedly removing her restraints and throwing herself out of a moving vehicle during a police transport
- Cassidi Hall started the fraudulent fundraiser on Facebook titled “#JusticeForJorden” that has raised over $860 of the $1,000 goal
Editor’s Note: Hall’s Facebook fundraiser has been closed but it is not clear what she has done with the money received.
Deborah Sanchez took to Facebook on Thursday to let social media users know a fraudulent fundraiser for Jorden Marie Simms had been started through the platform’s fundraising feature. Simms died at the end of December while in police custody.
Simms allegedly slipped out of her handcuffs, belly chain, and ankle restraints and threw herself out of a moving vehicle during a police transport. Days before her death, Simms accused Safford Police Officer Jeremiah French of rape and a female Graham County detention officer of sodomy.
Simms’ story went viral after her aunt, Crystal Barnett, made a post to her Facebook. The post was shared over 13,000 times and brought some much-needed attention to the suspicious death. Unfortunately, with that attention came an opportunity for others to profit.
Fraudulent Fundraiser For Jorden Marie Simms
On Friday, Cassidi Hall made a post claiming Simms was her niece. “Our family is devastated and sickened by this horrific tragedy,” Hall wrote. The post lead to a fundraiser allegedly for the family titled “#JusticeForJorden.” The fundraiser has raised $860 of a $1,000 goal. Hall’s post appears to have been removed but her fundraiser is currently still active.
According to a post from Sanchez, the fundraiser is a “scam.” In her post, Sanchez apologies to anybody that donated to Hall’s fundraiser. “Unfortunately a friendship of 27 years with her mother has been fraudulent as well,” Sanchez writes. She also says she has alerted the San Angelo, Texas police and will begin trying to contact Facebook.
The family does have a Go Fund Me campaign titled “#Justice4Jorden” started by Diane Silva. As of now, this is the only verified fundraiser for the family. The campaign has raised $770 of the $3,000 goal.
The Investigation Into Joden Marie Simms’ Claims
The Arizona Department of Public Safety has opened an investigation into Simms’ accusations against French and the unnamed Graham County detention officer. According to Safford Police Chief Joe Brugman, “a sex assault kit with DNA had been used and DPS has the kit in its possession. To our knowledge, the kit has not yet been processed.”
French’s attorney, Luis Fidel, called the accusations against French “absolutely false.” Fidel claims French’s safety is now at risk following Barnett’s viral post that called the officer out by name. “I really don’t want to discuss his whereabouts or what he’s doing. There have been some concerning Facebook messages and things of that nature,” Fidel told ABC 15.
French is currently on administrative leave pending the DPS investigation. Fidel said he is confident that French “will be cleared at the conclusion of those investigations.”