A church group is voicing concerns about the way donations are being used for Barway Collins, whose memory has been caught in the middle of the dispute as supporters attended two vigils over the weekend held in the boy's honor. Both were organized by different groups due to a lack of trust and growing tension among some of Barway's supporters.
Like the unpredictable nature of the Mississippi River, two groups are claiming to represent the best interests of the slain 10-year-old are flowing in separate directions.
Pastor Howard Dotson said his group is trying to bring Barway's biological mother from Liberia to Minnesota, and wants all donations coming in for the boy to be sent over to River of Life Lutheran Church in north Minneapolis.
"I've heard from folks there are concerns of money going for legal fees, money going to Pierre's family. When in reality, all that money should go to Barway's biological mother," he said.
On Sunday afternoon, Pastor Dotson and volunteer searchers held a vigil in North Mississppi Regional Park, near the area where Barway's body was found last week.
Pierre Collins, Barway's father, is behind bars awaiting trial for his son's murder. He was arrested last week on Monday afternoon two days after Barway's body was recovered from the Mississippi River. According to the charges, he told police "if they had enough, they should come and get him."
Pastor Harding Smith remains the family spokesperson and says up to this point, all donations collected are strictly for Barway's funeral expenses and any extra money will go to Barway's step-mom and her kids who live in Crystal. All of this is being managed by Organization of Liberians in Minnesota.
Pastor Smith said the emergence of other groups are adding confusion and division to this donation process. On Saturday, he led the first vigil of the weekend outside the Cedarwood Apartments in Crystal where Barway used to live. On Tuesday morning, the day after Collins' arrest, he told the assembled media that Collins continues to maintain his innocence in jail.
"Pierre told me, ‘Pastor, I did not do this.' I do believe him, but as a pastor, I do not judge," Smith said.
A funeral for the fourth-grader is scheduled for Saturday morning at Shiloh Temple in Minneapolis.