Stefano Giacabbe, eight, (pictured with his mother, Laura Giacobbe). Stefano was accused of bullying his six-year-old neighbor and burst into tears as he denied dousing a ball in gasoline and throwing it at the alleged victim
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A Connecticut boy accused of bullying his six-year-old neighbor burst into tears as he denied dousing a ball in gasoline and throwing it at the alleged victim.

Stefano Giacobbe claimed Dominick Krankall trod on a flaming cup that exploded on him despite their pleas to leave it alone in a yard in Bridgeport.

The eight-year-old said he was ‘saddened’ by the shocking incident and was devastated his group of friends had now shunned him following a mass uproar.

Meanwhile Krankall’s mother, Maria Rua, doubled down her claim Stefano had been bullying her boy and smacked him with the burning ball.

She also revealed she moved her family out of the house that was she renting from Giacobbe immediately after the horrifying ordeal and moved to a hotel. After she received vile death threats and public backlash at the hotel she was forced to relocate her family to a relatives house as she feared for her family’s safety.

It comes as she defended her decision to use cash – raised through a Go Fund Me page that made nearly $600,000 off the back of her claims – to buy a new home for her son with a larger backyard.

Rua said they were closing in on the sale next week but added anyone who wanted their money back would be fully refunded.

The fallout started on April 24 when Stefano was accused of setting light to a ball and putting it in Dominick’s face, which set him on fire.

The boy suffered second and third-degree burns and spent weeks in the hospital but has been making a quick recovery.

Originally it appeared the youngster had been set on fire by the tennis ball – but surveillance footage later emerged that seemed to contradict this.

Stefano Giacabbe, eight, (pictured with his mother, Laura Giacobbe). Stefano was accused of bullying his six-year-old neighbor and burst into tears as he denied dousing a ball in gasoline and throwing it at the alleged victim

Stefano Giacabbe, eight, (pictured with his mother, Laura Giacobbe). Stefano was accused of bullying his six-year-old neighbor and burst into tears as he denied dousing a ball in gasoline and throwing it at the alleged victim

Stefano Giacobbe (pictured) claimed Dominick Krankall trod on a flaming cup that exploded on him despite their pleas to leave it alone in the yard in Bridgeport

Stefano Giacobbe pictured here in the backyard of his Bridgeport, Connecticut home

Stefano Giacobba (pictured) claimed Dominick Krankall trod on a flaming cup that exploded on him despite their pleas to leave it alone in the yard in Bridgeport 

Meanwhile Krankall's mother Maria Rua (pictured together) doubled down her claim Stefano had been bullying her boy and smacked him with the burning ball. Her son, Dominick is still traumatized by the horrifying ordeal he experienced

Meanwhile Krankall’s mother Maria Rua (pictured together) doubled down her claim Stefano had been bullying her boy and smacked him with the burning ball. Her son, Dominick is still traumatized by the horrifying ordeal he experienced 

Rua shared photos of her son with the DailyMail.com when he was in the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital. He was covered with massive bandages from second and third degree burns he endured and could barely eat or drink or open his eyes

Rua shared photos of her son with the DailyMail.com when he was in the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital. He was covered with massive bandages from second and third degree burns he endured and could barely eat or drink or open his eyes 

Dominick during treatment, Rua said that doctors weren't sure in the early days if her son would suffer permanent damages to his faces and eys

Dominick is pictured here smiling wide after weeks of treatment. Dominick's mom said that her son has to stay out of the sun in in order to prevent permanent skin damage as new skin grows

The fallout started on April 24 when Stefano was accused of setting light to a ball and putting it in Dominick’s face which set him on fire

Dominick's sister Kayla Deegan, 20, started a GoFundMe to help the family pay for her little brother's mounting medical bills. At the time she was unaware that insurance covered injuries. Deegan, who has been transparent throughout her brother's ordeal, has posted regular updates on his progress. This week she wrote on the fundraising page that if anyone did not believe that their family's story that she would return the donation they made. Some people did ask for their donations back, Rua said

Dominick’s sister Kayla Deegan, 20, started a GoFundMe to help the family pay for her little brother’s mounting medical bills. At the time she was unaware that insurance covered injuries. Deegan, who has been transparent throughout her brother’s ordeal, has posted regular updates on his progress. This week she wrote on the fundraising page that if anyone did not believe that their family’s story that she would return the donation they made. Some people did ask for their donations back, Rua said

On Wednesday afternoon, Stefano’s mother Laura, 45, gave DailyMail.com a walk through the backyard of her house where the incident happened.

‘As you walk outside this is our backyard where the children were at play. This is where the gas was on the ground where Dominick did light on fire,’ she said.

‘As Dominick was standing here they were all lighting different things on fire. Dominick turned his back. There is a spot right here.’

Giacobbe said: ‘Where were you [Maria] at the time that they were kicking a ball around in the backyard? You never came downstairs. Just admit it Maria Rua you are wrong! You are wrong! It’s done. You are a liar!’

She added: ‘He [Stefano] is hurting now. You put him all over the world and he is not a bully and I am not going to let you you use my son all over the world as a bully.

‘I want it cleared. I think [MARIA] owes him an apology. You and your family, as well as the Mayor owe him an apology.’

She also told how her boy had lost his friends since the fallout which had left him devastated. She said: ‘He lost friends that were very close to him. He loved him like they were his own brother.’

‘He lost a friend that he really cared for,’ Giacobbe said as she held back tears. ‘She put it out there that he was a bully and my son is not a bully,’

‘tefano appeared emotional when he told DailyMail.com that he went down the block to play with some  kids he knows, the kids said to him: ‘Get away from the house… don’t light me on fire.’

As Giacobbe was talking her son burst into tears. He claimed there was a cup on fire on the floor and Dominick ran up and stamped on it during the shocking incident.

‘Me and my brother and his brother told him not to step on it. He ran over and jumped on it and stomped on it and it exploded,’ Stefano said.

When the cup exploded the gasoline apparently splashed on Dominick’s face and caused the horrendous burns. When Stefano’s mother asked her son ‘how did you feel when that happened to Dominick,’ Stefano replied: ‘Sad.’

His mother then asked him: ‘Can you show me exactly where the cup was?’ Stefano pointed to an area on the ground that showed a slight circle.

On Wednesday afternoon, Stafano's mother Laura, 45, gave DailyMail.com a walk through the backyard of her house where the April 24 incident happened

On Wednesday afternoon, Stafano’s mother Laura, 45, gave DailyMail.com a walk through the backyard of her house where the April 24 incident happened

When Stefano's mother asked her son 'how did you feel when that happened to Dominick,' Stefano replied: 'Sad'

When Stefano’s mother asked her son ‘how did you feel when that happened to Dominick,’ Stefano replied: ‘Sad’

Dominick's mother, Maria Rua sent DailyMail.com a photo of the tennis ball that hit her young son's face. The tennis ball transformed into a fireball once it was doused with gasoline and ignited. The tennis ball she said was taken by the Bridgeport Police Department, she said as evidence

Dominick’s mother, Maria Rua sent DailyMail.com a photo of the tennis ball that hit her young son’s face. The tennis ball transformed into a fireball once it was doused with gasoline and ignited. The tennis ball she said was taken by the Bridgeport Police Department, she said as evidence 

Dominick (pictured) suffered second and third-degree burns and spent weeks in the burn center at Bridgeport Hospital. He  has been making a quick recovery but has many restrictions including, staying out of direct sunlight and spending more time indoors which, his mother said, is one of the toughest things since her son loves to go fishing and be in the outdoors

Dominick (pictured) suffered second and third-degree burns and spent weeks in the burn center at Bridgeport Hospital. He  has been making a quick recovery but has many restrictions including, staying out of direct sunlight and spending more time indoors which, his mother said, is one of the toughest things since her son loves to go fishing and be in the outdoors 

Dominick is pictured with his father Aaron having a piggy back ride and trying to lift his spirits in hospital after the incident

Dominick is pictured with his father Aaron having a piggy back ride and trying to lift his spirits in hospital after the incident

But in a separate interview with DailyMail.com, Maria hit back at Laura’s claims and doubled down her son was targeted by Stefano who she again branded a bully.

She said: ‘Everyone is saying me and my family are liars. This is Dominick’s story this is what happened to him and I was not aware of what exactly happened until we got to the hospital.

‘Dominick said a tennis ball was thrown at his face that was lit on fire by Stefano. No one can see that because it is the the part of the video you don’t see and don’t see it happen because it is not in camera’s view.’

‘Dominick told me that Lorenzo, 11, Stefano’s older brother tried to help him by putting out the flames on his face and clothing.

‘The video doesn’t show what is happening in that corner of the yard,’ she said. ‘The video doesn’t show the entire story.’

She told DailyMail.com her son ran into their home screaming, ‘Mommy, they lit me on fire”, his legs were still smoking and his face was bright red.’

She explained that while her fiancee Aaron rushed Dominick to the bathtub she was calling 911 from her living room.

As she was on the phone, she said Stefano’s mother walked into her home and that is when she confronted her and said: ‘Your kids set my son on fire.’ Giaccobe is said to have replied: ‘Your son did this to himself… my kids were inside playing video games.’

After the disturbing encounter, Rua said an ambulance rushed her son with his father to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital.

She said he was not able to go because police had handcuffed her and put her in the back of their police vehicle.

‘They told me I wasn’t under arrest but they were just detaining me. It was only about 15 minutes but I just wanted to be with my son,’ she said.

‘I just wanted to be with my son. I told them to take me to the hospital in handcuffs. I just wanted to get to the hospital,’ she said.

In a separate interview with DailyMail.com, Maria hit back at Laura's claims and doubled down her son was targeted by Stefano who she again branded a bully.  The photo was taken on Wednesday is Maria Rue, next to her fiancee, Aaron Krankall and their six-year-old son Dominick Krankall in the center

In a separate interview with DailyMail.com, Maria hit back at Laura’s claims and doubled down her son was targeted by Stefano who she again branded a bully.  The photo was taken on Wednesday is Maria Rue, next to her fiancee, Aaron Krankall and their six-year-old son Dominick Krankall in the center

Rua said: 'Everyone is saying me and my family are liars. This is Dominick's story this is what happened to him and I was not aware of what exactly happened until we got to the hospital'

She said: 'Everyone is saying me and my family are liars. This is Dominick's story this is what happened to him and I was not aware of what exactly happened until we got to the hospital'

She said: ‘Everyone is saying me and my family are liars. This is Dominick’s story this is what happened to him and I was not aware of what exactly happened until we got to the hospital’

She recalled one of the police offers being very nice and then after she was released they told her she would have to speak to the fire marshal.

Maria told them she was not going to wait and if the marshal wanted to talk to her he can go to the hospital. During this time, she said the police were also inside Laura’s home and Stefano had run away.

‘I don’t know exactly where Stefano was. I heard he may have went to his Uncle’s house but I know he went missing.’

She also said a police K-9 found the shirt Stefano had worn during the incident in a residential garbage can. Dominick suffered second and third-degree burns to his face and legs in the April 24 incident.

Rua sent DailyMail.com a photo of the tennis ball that was set ablaze before it hit her son’s face causing significant damage. She said that the police seized the ball as evidence. 

She said after weeks of treatment his mother said her son is home and he is ‘healing and in good spirits’. His summer will not be be the same since he needs to be out of the sun to prevent permanent skin damage, and will likely have to spend more time indoors this summer.

‘That is one of the toughest things,’ she said. ‘He wants to be outside and play but he has new skin growing in and he cannot be in direct sunlight.’

She told how the family are narrowing in on a new home for her son where he will have more of a back yard to play in.

She told DailyMail.com that money from a GoFundMe page that raised nearly $600,000 was used to purchase the property.

But she was met with a backlash after some questioned her account of what happened and asked for their money back.

Maria said some people have asked for their donation back and at least $1,000 has been refunded. ‘I don’t have access to the money,’ Rua said. 

She added: ‘This is Dominick’s money. He is the one who went through this.’

DailyMail.com were shown around the backyard in the Bridgeport, Connecticut home of Lauren and Stefano Giaccobe on Wednesday afternoon where the shocking incident occurred

DailyMail.com were shown around the backyard in the Bridgeport, Connecticut home of Lauren and Stefano Giaccobe on Wednesday afternoon where the shocking incident occurred 

Another photo shows the back garden of the house in Connecticut where the youngster was burned as mystery still surrounds how it happened

Another photo shows the back garden of the house in Connecticut where the youngster was burned as mystery still surrounds how it happened

Earlier this week doubt was cast on Maria's version of events when backyard video footage emerged showing the incident

Earlier this week doubt was cast on Maria’s version of events when backyard video footage emerged showing the incident

The video was released after police concluded there was no wrongdoing in the case, and shows the group of boys dousing a soccer ball with gasoline, setting it ablaze, and then kicking it around the yard. The disturbing graphic images shows a photo of Dominick Krankall to the left as his face and head were surrounded by red flames. On the right is Lorenzo Giacobbe, 11, Stefano's older brother who tried to help Dominick when he was burning and overcome by flames

The video was released after police concluded there was no wrongdoing in the case, and shows the group of boys dousing a soccer ball with gasoline, setting it ablaze, and then kicking it around the yard. The disturbing graphic images shows a photo of Dominick Krankall to the left as his face and head were surrounded by red flames. On the right is Lorenzo Giacobbe, 11, Stefano’s older brother who tried to help Dominick when he was burning and overcome by flames

Giaccobe stands by the video and says it proves that the bullying claims were a fabrication while Maria claims it does not show the full sequence of events. 'The video doesn't show the entire story,' she told DailyMail.com

Giaccobe stands by the video and says it proves that the bullying claims were a fabrication while Maria claims it does not show the full sequence of events. ‘The video doesn’t show the entire story,’ she told DailyMail.com 

‘Dominick is so excited to have his own home. A backyard to play in and he wants to share a bedroom with his three-year-old brother. He is literally counting down the days.’

She did not disclose the new location because of her family’s safety, she said the home will be located in Connecticut and will be in a new school district.

But Giacobbe again slammed the mother, claiming that she had ‘used her child for financial gain’.

She said: ‘She needed a home to live in. She wanted to move into a home. She made that statement. She used my child to use him as a bully. We are very upset.’

She old another news outlet that Rua should donate the money raised from the GoFundMe to charity.

Rua responded by telling DailyMail.com that ‘I could see if I bought a yacht or a Mercedes but all Dominick wanted was a home and that was what he got.’

When DailyMail.com contacted GoFundMe to find out the number of refunds and actual amount that was reimbursed, a GoFundMe spokesperson said they were unable to ‘comment on active investigatons.’

‘Our hearts go out to Dominick as he continues to recover,’ the GoFundMe spokesperson said.

‘The most important thing to us is protecting the kindness of our community by protecting their donations through the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.’

If any donor would like to request a refund, GoFundMe said to DailyMal.com that link is provided that can assist with thet.

Earlier this week doubt was cast on Rua’s vesion of events when backyard video footage emerged showing the incident.

The video was released after police concluded there was no wrongdoing in the case, and shows the group of boys dousing a soccer ball with gasoline, setting it ablaze, and then kicking it around the yard.

Giaccobe stands by the video and says it proves that the bullying claims were a fabrication while Rua claims it does not show the full sequence of events.

When DailyMail.com contacted the Bridgeport Police Department on Wednesday they did not respond to our request for comment.  

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