MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (WITI) -- There have been plenty of questions and controversy this week swirling around a family that claimed the American Red Cross did nothing to help them after a house fire back in December. FOX6 spoke exclusively with the woman behind the lies who explains why the situation spiraled out of control.
"This is something serious I never knew it was going to get this far," Latressa Turner said.
Recognizing the ramifications...
"I just had to realize to myself it's not going to get me nowhere," Turner said.
Latressa Turner has finally made the decision to come clean.
"Did you get a card, a debit card from the Red Cross?" FOX6's Derica Williams asked. "Yes, to be honest I did," Turner said.
Red Cross throughout history
Red Cross throughout history
Women with the American Red Cross make surgical dressings in a quonset hut workroom during World War I. Paris, France. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Washington, DC.: Red Cross Signs Up Crew Of President's Yacht. The above photo shows--Comdr. Brown U. S. N. (front), in command of the President's yacht, the Mayflower and other officers and crew by Capitol 'Debs.' One hundred per cent enrollment was reported as the annual drive of the American Red cross opened in the capitol.
Delio Perez is the Red Cross Volunteer of the Year. A retired nurse, he has made a career of volunteering for the organization. Photo shot on Monday 3/13/2000. (Photo by Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
An American Red Cross nurse gives water to a wounded soldier head and eyes are bangaged as another man looks on; there are crutches in the background.
American Red Cross Nurse Dispensing Medication (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Here Red Cross nurses are supplying food to veterans of the First Division at the completion of the 7 mile Welcome Home Parade through this city. This scene is at Washington Square. (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 11: Emergency Red Cross Workers enter the Airport Hilton Hotel where they will be attending to airplane crash victims families. The Hotel has been designated as a receiving area for families. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
SANTEE, UNITED STATES: American Red Cross Disaster Relief workers try to comfort distraught Santana High School students in front of the school where a 15-year old gunman killed two fellow students and injured 13 others in Santee, a suburb of San Diego, 05 March 2001. Police took the suspected shooter into custody. AFP PHOTO Mike NELSON (Photo credit should read MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Diana, Princess of Wales and American Red Cross president Elizabeth Dole, wife of former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, sit together during a press conference June 17 calling for a global ban on anti-personnel mines. The event was part of a day-long program of activities designed to draw attention to the death and devastation caused by the 120 million landmines scattered in more than 70 nations as a result of decades of conflict.
California's first lady-elect Maria Shriver, wife of Governor-elect
Arnold Schwarzenegger, greets an emergency relief workers during a
visit to a Red Cross relief center in Harbison Canyon, California
November 5, 2003. Marsha J. Evans, president and CEO of the American
Red Cross, (C) joined Shriver to tour the Red Cross assistance center
and meet with victims of the recent Southern California fires.
REUTERS/Mike Blake REUTERS
Refugees of Hurricane Katrina talk to volunteers inside Astrodome complex on how to receive funds after the floods in New Orleans. After waiting for hours in the hot sun to get disaster relief funds from the American Red Cross, refugees of Hurricane Katrina talk to volunteers inside the Astrodome complex about how to receive funds so they get get back on their feet after the floods in New Orleans September 8, 2005. Both volunteers at the Astrodome complex - the largest gathering point of evacuees since the floods - and refugees said the process of getting help was confusing and frustrating as thousands waited in line. REUTERS/Adam Tanner
U.S. President George W. Bush (2nd L) speaks to media during a visit to the Headquarters of the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., September 4, 2005. Bush, escorted by Red Cross President and CEO Marty Evans (R) and Alan McCurry (3rd R), toured the Command Center overseeing the relief efforts underway in the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Bush asked Americans to volunteer and to give blood. Top officials from the Bush administration, smarting from criticism their slow response compounded the suffering from Hurricane Katrina, were touring the devastation on Sunday as storm survivors finished evacuating New Orleans. REUTERS/Mannie Garcia mg/JJ
An elderly couple leave a Red Cross evacuation center in Poway, California October 21, 2007, as the fast spreading Witch Creek wild fire in eastern San Diego County forces the evacuation center to be evacuated. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES)
A Red Cross paramedic carries boxes of supplies for flood-affected residents on the outskirts of Villahermosa November 3, 2007. Thousands of people perched on roofs in southern Mexico on Saturday, desperate to be evacuated from flooding caused by heavy rains that has left most of Tabasco state under water and 800,000 people homeless. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (MEXICO)
Members of the Red Cross carry a body after a mudslide in San Miguel Eloxochitlan, in Mexico's state of Puebla July 5, 2007. Mexican soldiers have dug out more than a dozen corpses after the side of a rain-soaked mountain collapsed on a bus carrying up to 60 passengers on a remote road. REUTERS/Imelda Medina (MEXICO)
A Red Cross volunteer watches as Samoan police carry out a search for tsunami victims on a beach at Matavai on the southern coast of Western Samoa September 30, 2009. Relief workers in American Samoa and Samoa searched for survivors on Thursday after a series of tsunamis smashed into the tiny Pacific islands, killing possibly more than 100 people and flattening villages. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne (WESTERN SAMOA DISASTER)
A young boy stands in a doorway at the American Red Cross Santa Barbara County Chapter Emergency Shelter at San Marcos High School set up for evacuees of the wildfire in Santa Barbara, California, November 14, 2008. A wildfire burned through the area forcing thousands to evacuate in Santa Barbara County including residents of the Montecito. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES)
Evacuees Tanda Jacobs and Dave Jacobs of the Sycamore Canyon area receive food at dinner time from Salvation Army at the American Red Cross Santa Barbara County Chapter Emergency Shelter at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, California, November 14, 2008. A wildfire burned through the area forcing thousands to evacuate in Santa Barbara County including residents of the Montecito. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES)
Evacuees leave the American Red Cross Santa Barbara County Chapter Emergency Shelter at San Marcos High School while trying to find a place for their dogs in Santa Barbara, California, November 14, 2008. A wildfire burned through the area forcing thousands to evacuate in Santa Barbara County including residents of the Montecito. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES)
A Red Cross van is parked on the side of highway 89 as smoke from the Wood Hollow fire fills the sky north of Fairview, Utah, June 26, 2012. More than 500 structures have been threatened by the Wood Hollow fire, forcing up to 1,500 people from homes. REUTERS/George Frey (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT DISASTER)
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) listens to a Red Cross employee's comments about relief operations for earthquake victims in Haiti during a tour of the Red Cross Disaster Operations Center in Washington January 18, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS DISASTER SOCIETY)
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Her honesty comes only after the Red Cross was called out in the community for failing to serve the victims.
"It made me feel bad because I lied to the news and stuff," Turner said. "It made me feel bad for the Red Cross people."
Turner is now feeling remorse after making claims the Red Cross turned her away after she lost everything in a house fire near 21st and Concordia.
Her statements proved untrue when FOX6 News received documents from the Red Cross national office showing Turner was given a debit card for several hundred dollars the day her home went up in flames.
"They talked to me and they gave me a card, but they didn't give me a lot what I expected," Turner said.
There was around $545 on the debit card.
"I spent it on my son's clothes and stuff," Turner said.
The paper trail confirmed the card is now empty. What is also lacking is some people's trust in Turner.
"Why did you lie to begin with?" Williams asked.
"Because these people told me just lie about it and just see what they're gonna do," Turner replied.
"What made you think that was good idea?" Williams asked.
"To be honest, I don't know. It's not helping me at all," Turner said.
And to the community members who rallied with donations...
"I apologize. I thank you for the help I'm sorry for lying to you guys too," Turner said.
"What are you plans for the GoFundMe page?" Williams asked.
"They can have all the money back," Turner replied.
She plans to make returns and a visit to the Red Cross to help right her wrongs.
"I'm going to go up there probably Monday, to apologize to them and talk to them," Turner said.
Meanwhile, the organization responded and despite it all, they say they are just going to continue to help everyone who needs it.
The Red Cross released the following statement on Saturday, January 6th:
"The American Red Cross is pleased that after several days of misinformation, the facts regarding Red Cross support for Ms. Turner are now being made known to the public. As we are a charity that depends on the American people for financial donations to provide help after home fires and other disasters, we would like to reiterate that we provide support to all affected by home fires in Milwaukee, and we will continue to do so."
FOX6 reached out to GoFundMe, they say the family has been paid a portion of the funds. However, they say donors are fully protected. So far, they have not received any refund requests in this case.
Community activist, Tory Lowe, who stood by Turner's claims since the beginning, took to Facebook Live on the incident:
MS. TURNER APOLOGIES TO THE COMMUNITY
THE RED CROSS USE TO SEPARATE THE BLACK BLOOD FROM THE WHITE BLOOD CAUSE BACK IN THE DAY THEY DIDN'T WANT WHITES TO RECEIVE THE BLACK BLOOD.
THE ZIP CODE POLICY THAT THEY TRIED TO IMPLEMENT WAS DISCRIMINATORY.
JUST BECAUSE THE WOMAN LIED DONT OVER SHADOW WHAT WAS ATTEMPTED DECEMBER 28, 2017. SHE WONT BE USED AS AN ESCAPE GOAT.
MILWAUKEE IS SEGREGATED AND THE WORST PLACE FOR BLACKS TO LIVE. I DONT KNOW WHY THE WOMAN LIED. SHE HAD LOST EVERYTHING IN A 3 ALARM FIRE. THE FAMILY HAD NO COMPLAINT FILED ONLY STATING THEY HAD BEEN DENIED SERVICE. SHE APOLOGIZED TO THE COMMUNITY, HER FAMILY, RED CROSS, MYSELF AND OTHERS.
THE FEDERAL INVESTIGATION FILED WITH THE DOJ HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FAMILY AT ALL. ONLY THE POLICY. IT WAS FILED BEFORE THEY DROPPED THE POLICY.
DONT USE MS. TUNER AS A ESCAPE GOAT. SHE HAS ENOUGH ISSUES TO DEAL WITH AND IM SURE SHE STILL NEEDS HELP. I FORGIVE HER AND WILL MAKE SURE SHE GETS THE HELP SHE NEEDS DUE TO CHILDREN BEING INVOLVED.
WE ARE STILL WAITING ON A RESPONSE FROM THE DOJ ON THAT ZIP CODE POLICY. THE RED CROSS HAS SINCE RETRACTED THE POLICY DUE TO THE COMMUNITY UPROAR.