Questions raised about Jessica Ridgeway fundraiser

10:11 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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"It was advertised on Facebook and I was invited by a friend on Facebook," Regalado said. "When I saw they needed help I offered to do what I could."

He agreed to supply sound and lighting equipment for the musical acts at the fundraiser and helped to book more than a dozen bands.

Purple Prayers for Jessica Ridgeway is a two-day event to be held in Brighton. According to the Facebook page, admission to the event is $10.

"Nothing raised a flag to me until I started hearing about all of the issue that were coming up with these benefits and organizations that were using her name, and then I started asking questions," Regalado said.

In November, the Ridgeway family sent a cease and desist letter to Colorado's Missing Children's Foundation asking them to stop using Jessica's name as a fundraising tool. They also asked the organization to stop using Jessica's photo to generate funds.

"My first question was to the organization; did Jessica's parents call this benefit off?" Regalado said.

Regalado says he asked for assurance the family was involved in Purple Prayers for Jessica Ridgeway.

"I was getting really no response and then at one point in time I was told I would get some kind of letter of authenticity, which I'm still waiting for," Regalado said. "I asked the question again about a week ago, and I was told the person was out of town. They would be getting back in town last night and I would expect the letter, which I still did not receive."

A member of the Ridgeway family responded to an inquiry from 9News regarding Purple Prayers for Jessica Ridgeway in this way: "As far as I know, this event isn't connected to the family."

Regalado says he still would like to find a way to help the Ridgeway family and show support for them. He says he will no longer be involved with Purple Prayers for Jessica Ridgeway unless he knows the Ridgeway family is involved and approves of the event.

After this story originally aired, event organizer, Cathy Valentine, responded to the questions about the fundraiser Tuesday evening through a series of posts on Facebook.

"I would NEVER raise money for something and not make the full contribution," Valentine said in one of the posts. "The people who know me, know what I do for the Denver community! The show will go on despite of some people trying to stop it."

Valentine also posted a series of messages that she says were exchanged with a family friend of Jessica's mother. In those messages, the pair discussed protocol for submitting fundraisers in Jessica's name and technical problems the family's website has experienced.

Based on those messages, it is unclear if the Ridgeway family received Valentine's proposal.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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