Foundation to Discontinue References to Murdered Girl

November 7, 2012; Source: Fox 31-Denver

Since the abduction and killing of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, Colorado’s Missing Children Foundation (CMCF) had, until recently, used the murdered girl’s image to help raise money. Those who helped look for Jessica after she disappeared a little over a month ago spawned the foundation. Now, FOX 31-Denver has reported that the Ridgeway family has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the organization asking them to stop using Jessica’s image. According to a statement on the CMCF website, the foundation will comply with the family’s request by no longer using the name “Jessica,” but it will continue to raise money to help other families and communities “when the unthinkable happens.”

According to the Associated Press, however, it seems that at least one of those involved with CMCF may be somewhat stung by the recent request from the family: “It’s not like we’re using her name to make a profit,” Ben Bargas told the Associated Press. Bargas told the AP that he is a CMCF board member and that, “We’re trying to use her name to tell a story of how the whole foundation was started.”

It seems to us that Bargas and the foundation should not even think about mounting a defense here. When it comes to the use of a murdered child’s name or photo, one’s charitable motives are less important than the need to demonstrate the utmost sensitivity to a family that is in the midst of grief that is unfathomable to those of us who have been lucky enough to avoid such a horrific loss. –Mike Keefe-Feldman