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Milwaukee woman admits to lying about Red Cross denying her help after fire

Posted at 10:43 AM, Jan 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-07 15:06:04-05

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee woman who lost everything in a fire, and claimed she was not helped by the Red Cross, admitted on video Saturday that she lied.

After her house burned down last week, Latressa Turner - backed by her sister LaToya, and community activist Tory Lowe - held a press conference, saying she was not helped by the Red Cross because of the zip code she lives in.

"When I walked into the Red Cross and told them my name and information, they told me because of my zip code, they could not help us," Latressa said at the press conference on Thursday, January 4th.

"This should not be swept under a rug with an I'm sorry," Lowe added.

But now, just two days later, they are the ones left apologizing.

The Red Cross released proof Friday that the organization gave Latressa $545 on the same day her house caught fire. Including $170 for lodging, and $375 for other expenses.

"I apologize," Latressa says in a Facebook Live recording posted by Lowe. "I will never do it again. I've very sorry for putting your name out there badly."

Latressa says she was encouraged to lie about the Red Cross helping, after the organization's short-lived, controversial zip code policy, which it quickly reversed.

"Some people told me to lie, and say the Red Cross didn't help me at all, to try and get more help," Latressa admits.

The community helped raise $1,000 for Latressa and her family, and donated clothes, food and supplies, after hearing she wasn't properly helped.

"That money and the supplies will now only go to her children," Lowe tells Today's TMJ4. "They still lost everything."

We asked Lowe why he didn't dig deeper into Latressa's accusation against the Red Cross.

"What do you want me to do?" he asks. "The Red Cross was being criticized for its zip code policy. Who would think that someone who lost everything would lie? I have no apologies for nobody. I did nothing but try to help a family in need. Latressa apologized to me, her family, and to the Red Cross. She was the one who lied."

Lowe says he gets a lot of messages from people asking for help, and will do more research before getting behind claims of mistreatment.

"Now I'm going to put them through a screening process," he says.

The Red Cross says it will continue to help every family in need, regardless of zip code.