Support is pouring in for a suburban Chicago man with mental disabilities whose beating was broadcast on Facebook Live last week.
A GoFundMe page titled "Let's show the Chicago Victim Love" has raised more than $125,000 since Jan. 5.
More than 4,300 people have donated to the effort started by Razor Sheldon, of San Francisco, who said his initial goal was to raise $5,000 for the 18-year-old and his family.
"I never imagined we'd be where we are today," Sheldon wrote in an update on the GoFundMe page Saturday. "That's heartwarming, and reaffirms the fact there are many, many good folks out there in our local and global communities that care and want to help others."
The page also provided an update from the teen and his family, who have requested privacy at this time, according to Sheldon.
The victim "is a little sore and moving slowly, but he has been more alert and has been enjoying food again, as well as playing some video games with his brothers," the page reads.
"He has been 'amazed to see all the support and prayers he is receiving,'" the organizer added.
Several donors asked if they could send cards or gifts, to which the organizer said the family has established a P.O. Box. Well-wishers are asked to send cards to:
P.O. Box 641
Cary, Illinois 60013
Money raised will go directly to the victim and his family, a spokesperson for GoFundMe has confirmed. The site is working with the organizer and the family on a transition plan "that ensures the intent of the fundraiser is met and the victim is the beneficiary of all of your generous and compassionate donations," the page reads.
"Let's prove to him that there is far more good in this world than the evil he experienced," Sheldon wrote.
The teen's brutal beating was broadcast in a video that surfaced Wednesday and has since been seen by millions of people. In the video, police say four suspects, who are black, assaulted the white Crystal Lake teen, threatening him with a knife and taunting him with profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.
Jordan Hill, 18, of Carpentersville; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Chicago; and sisters Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24, also of Chicago, were charged with hate crimes, kidnapping and battery Thursday after prosecutors identified them as the suspects seen torturing the victim, who suffers from schizophrenia and ADD.
All four were held without bond, a decision that was met with cheers when it was announced at a hearing Friday by a judge who asked the accused, "Where was your sense of decency?"
The ordeal began Dec. 31, authorities said, when the victim met Hill, his schoolmate and alleged attacker, at a McDonald's in suburban Schaumburg to begin what both the victim and his parents believed would be a sleepover.
Instead, Hill drove the victim around in a stolen van for two days before ending up at a home in the 3300 block of West Lexington in Chicago, where two of the other suspects lived, according to police.
His parents began receiving text messages from persons claiming to be holding him captive, authorities said, and officials discovered the Facebook video while investigating the source of the messages.
On Tuesday afternoon, officers on patrol found the victim, bloodied and disoriented, wandering in Chicago near the home where he had been held. He was taken to an area hospital where he was treated for his injuries and has since been released, his family said.