When a Kelowna, B.C. family lost everything in a house fire, including a wife and step-mother to two children, the community wanted to help.
Those touched by the story looked for ways to support Mike Van Gool and his young boys as they mourned the loss of Loree Dubeque.
She died in March, after running back into their burning home on Springfield Road to retrieve a dog. The dog did not survive, and the home was destroyed.
"It‘s the toughest time of their lives," said Kim Graumann, who was part of a bottle drive that raised thousands for the family.
Others opted to make donations through the fundraising website GoFundMe, a campaign that raised more than $12,000.
But the family affected by the fire never got the money, and the organizer of the fundraiser stopped returning calls to others involved.
Community members started to worry, Graumann said.
"There‘s a lot of frustrated people because it was meant for them and to help them. Usually after something like that, the funds are needed right away. Not months and months later," she said.
CTV News reached out to , where a spokesperson said staff members are investigating the circumstances.
"I can confirm that we are looking into this and have reached out to the campaign organizer for more information. We will make sure the Van Gool family receives the funds raised on their behalf," the representative said.
CTV also ed the organizer of the fundraiser, Bill Henthorn. He admitted that the money was gone, but said he did not misappropriate the funds.
Henthorn said the money went into a personal account at TD Bank, then was claimed by the Canada Revenue Agency because of back taxes he owes. He told CTV he still plans to get the money to the family.
"I‘ve actually had to secure a loan, on my own… I‘ve wanted nothing more than to get this to them," he said.
On Wednesday evening, Henthorn said he could happily report that Van Gool and his family were in the process of getting the money transferred.
Friends said that Van Gool and his kids have been through a lot, but that they‘re amazed at the tremendous amount of support they‘ve received.
"I hope that he gets the money. I think that everybody that was donating was donating to the Van Gools," Graumann said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver‘s Julie Nolin