Donated funds for children's memorial, no funds given to White - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Donated funds for children's memorial, no funds given to White

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Nearly a month after her three children were killed in a fire, Rhiannon White is charged with two counts of felony drug possession. 

Even though drugs were not physically found on white, her emergency room urine test on the day of the fire showed traces of Methamphetamines and Ecstasy. 

The news of White's drug arrest is a big concern to many people who have helped raise money for the White family. 

The Crow Bar in Sioux Falls put on one of the largest fund raisers for the family. White began working at the Crow Bar in October.  Belinde Cordell, a long time Crow Bar employee worked with White the night before the December 22nd fire. 

"It was a normal night like any other night I had worked with her," said Cordell. 

Like many people, Cordell was horrified when she heard the news of the children's death. 

"I had to pull over in my car and I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed," said Cordell. 

It's why she and her co-workers wanted to help. 

"We just felt so bad and we wanted to do something right, so we came up with this idea of having a fund raiser so we could help to pay the costs that were associated with the funeral expenses," said Cordell. 

With the help of the community, they were able to raise $8,000—a point Cordell feels less excited about today. 

"Our efforts, as great as they were, now, we have this cloud," said Cordell. 

The cloud comes with Monday's news that White had drugs in her system at the time of the fire.  In South Dakota, it's classified as a possession charge. 

"The harder, the more dangerous drugs, the consequences are much more severe. For instance, methamphetamine or cocaine, possession of that is a class 4 felony if its in your system," said Sioux Falls Criminal Defense attorney John Wilka. 

Wilka says when a drug test confirms an illegal substance is in your system, it is very difficult to legally dispute. 

"If the tests were accurate and if the drugs were actually in your system and if it was part of a legal search without the technical constitutional argument, presence of the drug is guilt," said Wilka. 

White posted this comment on KSFY.com: 

"All of you who have replied to these outstanding, outrageous, lies about me, please know this first. Not only are the news stations lying now, but they have lied during every report that has been aired. I am not a junkie. I was Roofied while at work. My husband's drug screen came back clean. The cause of fire has still not been determined as we have been waiting for our home to be stabilized. We are good parents. Detective Sardah, is who is the guilty here. For not following up on a previous case involving the gang violence prior to out move there. God will be the Judge of me and yes, justice will prevail!" -- Rhiannon White 

But Cordell says no matter what comes of the drug charges, the tragedy is still the same.

"Whether Rhi was on drugs or not, the tragedy remains the same, that the three children's lives were lost and that's really our focus," said Cordell. 

The Crow Bar wants the public to rest assured that they are still in possession of all of the donations.  The donations will be used directly to pay for the children's gravestones; any remaining funds will be used towards a memorial for the children. 

"We haven't determined how much will be leftover after the gravestones have been purchased and they did go today, Rhiannon went today and picked out grave stones," said Cordell. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.  At this point, White's drug charges are in no way connected to the fire.

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