More On: Dominick Krankall
The mother of a Connecticut boy who is accused of setting his 6-year-old neighbor on fire on purpose wants the family of the boy who was burned to pay for what they did. This is because a new video contradicts what the boy's parents said happened.
Laura Giacobbe told The Post on Tuesday that police should arrest Dominick Krankall's mother because she lied about what happened in April and put her son "through hell."
Giacobbe, 45, said from her home in Bridgeport, "Her child got to go to Yankee Stadium while my child sat inside in fear because of all the things said about him."
"I don't think it's fair, so I want her to be arrested. It hurts people's reputations," Giacobbe said. "She spread lies about my family. She made life terrible for my son. She made hell for me. I want her to be arrested for lying."
Dominick Krankall was playing in his Bridgeport backyard on April 24 when an 8-year-old bully attacked him, Krankall's family said. Dominick got second- and third-degree burns, they said.
But a video released by the Giacobbe family on Friday shows that four kids, including Dominick, lit fires and kicked a soccer ball that was on fire in the backyard.
The other boys don't seem to be after Dominick in the video. He caught fire after kicking or stepping on a burning plastic cup full of gasoline.
The community was outraged by what happened and showed the hurt child a lot of support. The child has since been released from the hospital.
Outside of the hospital where Dominick was recovering, the mayor of Bridgeport, first responders, and dozens of community members put on a parade. Since then, an online fundraiser has raised almost $600,000 for his family.
Giacobbe said that Maria Rua, Dominick's mom and her former neighbor, was supposed to be watching the kids, including her 8-year-old and 11-year-old sons, Stefano and Lorenzo, on the day of the incident.
“I saw Maria by the sink wiping the child’s face with the wash rag and seeing the skin come off his face because she was wiping it. I was screaming to her that he needed to get into the tub because his leg was on fire and she wasn’t aware of that,” Giacobbe said of the moment she arrived back at the house after running her errands.
“At the same time [she was] making a phone call to the police department, stating that ‘the eight-year-old boy downstairs took gasoline, poured it on my child and lit him on fire.’ Those were her exact words.”
The Krankalls said that Stefano, Giaccobe's son, put gasoline on a ball, set it on fire, and then threw it at Dominick's face. This cruel act of bullying shook their town and led to a police investigation.
But Giacobbe said Rua's story was made up. He said that surveillance footage showing the kids playing peacefully "all day long" shows that what happened was just a terrible accident and not a planned attack.
“[They were] playing, riding bikes…there was no bullying at all with the children,” the mom said, insisting, “My child, Stefano Giacobbe, is not a bully.”
The video shows that the kids started playing with gasoline and that one of them set fire to a soccer ball. In the video, you can see Dominick kick the ball and then wipe gasoline off of his clothes.
“He [then] stomped on a cup of gas,” Giacobbe said, raising her voice. “The gas went up his leg…it traveled to his face because the vapors were on his face.”
Rather than leaving Dominick to suffer, as they were accused of doing, Giacobbe said her 11-year-old rushed to help and prevented the burns from getting worse.
“[Lorenzo] took his bare hands and smacked the fire out of his face, or else he would have been running upstairs with the fire on his face because [Rua] never came downstairs,” the distraught woman said.
Rua “should have been watching those children,” Giacobbe charged. “I trusted her to be watching those children.”
The mom was heartbroken because she knew her sons weren't guilty, but the police asked her to keep the video secret until they finished their investigation.
On June 10, the Bridgeport Police Department said in a statement that there was no proof that Dominick had been picked on or bullied by the other kids.
“There is nothing on the video portraying any of the children deliberately injuring the other,” the statement said.
Giacobbe said she then released the video to the media to prove her son’s innocence.
“I don’t want that to stick with him for the rest of his life,” she said. “We want to have a normal life. We don’t have a normal life now.”
Following the incident, Giacobbe claimed her family received several death threats and cops were parked outside of her home for three weeks because of the risk.
“Do you know how that feels to walk out of your home and you don’t know what’s going to happen from one minute to the next?” she asked.
“[Stefano] was sad. Kids were saying ‘don’t light me on fire, we can’t play with you,’… He was very upset, very emotional. He asked why was he being picked on.
“Meanwhile, [Rua’s] building her GoFundMe and her wish list off false statements she’s putting out there.”
When reached by phone Tuesday night, Rua shot back at Giacobbe, calling her a “liar” and a “narcissist.”
Rua denied she was supposed to have watching her neighbor’s boys and she stood by her son’s account of what happened that day.
“This is my son’s story, not mine. He went through this,” Rua said. “Even Dominick said to me ‘Lorenzo helped put the fire out on my face.’ My son is not a liar. He said ‘Stefano set me on fire but Lorenzo tried to help me.'”
Rua was skeptical of the surveillance footage released by the Giacobbe family Tuesday.
“The edited video. It’s all edited. It took a month and a half to come out. The Bridgeport Police have the actual footage from that day or they’re supposed to,” said Rua.
A spokesperson for the Bridgeport Police Department declined to say whether anyone would face charges for allegedly making false statements.
A representative for GoFundMe said the fundraiser is “within GoFundMe Terms of service at this time.”
“Our hearts go out to Dominick as he continues to recover,” said Kelsi Gantt, GoFundMe spokesperson and Northeast Regional Manager.
“Our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee, which protects donors and their generosity. If any donor would like to request a refund, we will process it for them.
“It’s important to remember, our team of Trust & Safety experts proactively monitors our platform for any form of misuse, investigates all reported issues, and also works with law enforcement on any investigations they deem necessary.”
Giacobbe the fundraiser, seemingly created under false pretenses, “sickening.”
“Give the money back, Maria, to families that do have children who are very ill who need the money. Give it to the burn unit. I mean, enough is enough!” Giacobbe railed.
“She made a lie. This was a lie. She used him… she used her child to get that money.”
Giacobbe stands by the video and says it proves that the bullying claims were a fabrication.
She also slammed Rua for setting up the GoFundMe, which echoed claims that her sons were bullying Dominick, calling it 'sickening.'
'Give the money back, Maria, to families that do have children who are very ill who need the money,' Giacobbe told the Post. 'Give it to the burn unit. I mean, enough is enough!'
'She made a lie. This was a lie. She used him… she used her child to get that money.'
Giacobbe's family attorney says they are even considering legal action, after the bullying claims generated a frenzy of threats from an online mob.
'The police department had to sit in front of the home overnight, to make sure nothing happened. It was stated the house would be lit on fire, they were going to drag my son and myself down the street and let us suffer from the pain,' said Giacobbe.
But Dominick's family says that they only know what they do because of what the boy told them. They also say that the video doesn't show important parts of what happened.
This week, photos of Dominick taken in the hospital show that he is doing well after the accident. There are only a few red marks on his forehead.