Funeral arrangements are set for Barway Collins, a family spokesperson said. The 10-year-old boy will be laid to rest two weeks after his body was found in the Mississippi River.
Pastor Harding Smith, a spokesman for the family, said the funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Shiloh Temple in north Minneapolis.
The community had hoped to wait to have the funeral until Barway's mother Louise Karluah could come from Liberia, but due to the condition of the remains, the funeral needs to be held this weekend, WCCO says.
“I have tried to wait until Barway’s mother gets here,” Smith told the Star Tribune. “I think it is very important for a mother to be here to bury her son.”
It's unlikely Karluah will make it to Minnesota in time for the funeral, reports note, but the Liberian community continues to raise funds to help get her here, as well as help pay for funeral costs.
But several different funds have emerged to help the Collins family, which is making some in the community suspicious about where the money will actually go.
Organization of Liberians in Minnesota has set up funds at TCF Bank and Wells Fargo to raise money to help with both funeral costs and to help bring Karluah to Minnesota, KSTP reported.
FOX 9 reported River of Life Lutheran Church in Minneapolis is also raising money to help bring Barway's mother here for the funeral.
“I've heard from folks there are concerns of money going for legal fees, money going to Pierre's (Collins) family. When in reality, all that money should go to Barway's biological mother,” Pastor Howard Dotson told FOX 9.
WCCO says there are also concerns that strangers are setting up accounts under Barway's name, but intend to keep any donations for themselves.
Pastor Smith has spoken with several news outlets in recent days, saying controversy over fundraising has distracted the community from paying proper respects to Barway and has added confusion to the donation process.
Barway's mother speaks out
Meanwhile, Barway's mother spoke to a Liberian radio station over the weekend – her first time speaking publicly since her son's body was found, the Star Tribune reports.
In the interview, Karluah alleged that Pierre Collins, Barway's father who has been charged with second-degree murder in the boy's death, was abusive.
She said Collins was a "very wicked man to me," Buzz Liberia reports.
Karluah told the radio station she met Collins, who was her teacher, when she was 15, and got pregnant.
Five years ago, Karluah said Barway went to the United States to be with Collins, who had moved there earlier, and she would speak with her son on the phone until 2013, the Star Tribune says.
Collins had called her when their son was reported missing, the newspaper notes.