The mother of a Connecticut kid accused of deliberately setting his 6-year-old neighbor on fire wants the burned boy’s family punished after newly released video contradicted their claims.
Laura Giacobbe, in an interview with The Post on Tuesday, called on cops to arrest little Dominick Krankall’s mom for allegedly lying about the April incident and putting her son “though hell.”
“Her child got to go to Yankee Stadium while my child sat inside in fear because of all the statements made against him,” Giacobbe, 45, said from her home in Bridgeport.
“I want her to get arrested because I don’t think it’s fair. It’s defamation of character,” Giacobbe continued. “She slandered my family. She put my son through hell. She put me in hell. I want her arrested for false statements.”
Krankall’s family had claimed Dominick suffered second- and third-degree burns after being targeted by an 8-year-old bully while playing in his backyard in Bridgeport on April 24.
But a video released Friday by the Giacobbe family shows four children, including Dominick, lighting fires and kicking a flaming soccer ball in the backyard together.
Nothing in the video shows the other boys targeting Dominick, who caught fire after either kicking or stepping on a plastic cup filled with gasoline that was in flames.
The incident sparked outrage in the community and an outpouring of support for the injured child, who has since been released from the hospital.
Bridgeport’s mayor, first responders and dozens of community members hosted a parade outside of the hospital where Dominick was recovering and an online fundraiser has since raised nearly $600,000 for his family.
Giacobbe said Dominick’s mom, Maria Rua, her former neighbor, was supposed to be watching the kids, including her sons Stefano, 8, and Lorenzo, 11, on the day of the incident.
“I saw Maria by the sink wiping the child’s face with the wash rag and seeing the skin come off his face because she was wiping it. I was screaming to her that he needed to get into the tub because his leg was on fire and she wasn’t aware of that,” Giacobbe said of the moment she arrived back at the house after running her errands.
“At the same time [she was] making a phone call to the police department, stating that ‘the eight-year-old boy downstairs took gasoline, poured it on my child and lit him on fire.’ Those were her exact words.”
The Krankalls said that Giaccobe’s son Stefano doused a ball in gasoline, lit it on fire and then threw it at Dominick’s face in a vicious act of bullying that rattled their town and sparked a police investigation.
But Giacobbe claimed Rua’s story is nothing but fiction, saying the surveillance footage showing the kids playing peacefully “all day long” proves what happened was just a horrible accident, not a deliberate attack.
“[They were] playing, riding bikes…there was no bullying at all with the children,” the mom said, insisting, “My child, Stefano Giacobbe, is not a bully.”
The footage shows the children started playing with gasoline and one of them lit a soccer ball on fire. In the clip, Dominick is seen kicking the ball and then wiping the gasoline on his clothing.
“He [then] stomped on a cup of gas,” Giacobbe said, raising her voice. “The gas went up his leg…it traveled to his face because the vapors were on his face.”
Rather than leaving Dominick to suffer, as they were accused of doing, Giacobbe said her 11-year-old rushed to help and prevented the burns from getting worse.
“[Lorenzo] took his bare hands and smacked the fire out of his face, or else he would have been running upstairs with the fire on his face because [Rua] never came downstairs,” the distraught woman said.
Rua “should have been watching those children,” Giacobbe charged. “I trusted her to be watching those children.”
The heartbroken mom said she knew her sons were innocent but the police asked her to keep the video private until their investigation was through.
The Bridgeport Police Department released a statement on June 10 saying no evidence showed Dominick had been bullied or targeted by the other kids.
“There is nothing on the video portraying any of the children deliberately injuring the other,” the statement said.
Giacobbe said she then released the video to the media to prove her son’s innocence.
“I don’t want that to stick with him for the rest of his life,” she said. “We want to have a normal life. We don’t have a normal life now.”
Following the incident, Giacobbe claimed her family received several death threats and cops were parked outside of her home for three weeks because of the risk.
“Do you know how that feels to walk out of your home and you don’t know what’s going to happen from one minute to the next?” she asked.
“[Stefano] was sad. Kids were saying ‘don’t light me on fire, we can’t play with you,’… He was very upset, very emotional. He asked why was he being picked on.
“Meanwhile, [Rua’s] building her GoFundMe and her wish list off false statements she’s putting out there.”
When reached by phone Tuesday night, Rua shot back at Giacobbe, calling her a “liar” and a “narcissist.”
Rua denied she was supposed to have watching her neighbor’s boys and she stood by her son’s account of what happened that day.
“This is my son’s story, not mine. He went through this,” Rua said. “Even Dominick said to me ‘Lorenzo helped put the fire out on my face.’ My son is not a liar. He said ‘Stefano set me on fire but Lorenzo tried to help me.’”
Rua was skeptical of the surveillance footage released by the Giacobbe family Tuesday.
“The edited video. It’s all edited. It took a month and a half to come out. The Bridgeport Police have the actual footage from that day or they’re supposed to,” said Rua.
A spokesperson for the Bridgeport Police Department declined to say whether anyone would face charges for allegedly making false statements.
A representative for GoFundMe said the fundraiser is “within GoFundMe Terms of service at this time.”
“Our hearts go out to Dominick as he continues to recover,” said Kelsi Gantt, GoFundMe spokesperson and Northeast Regional Manager.
“Our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee, which protects donors and their generosity. If any donor would like to request a refund, we will process it for them.
“It’s important to remember, our team of Trust & Safety experts proactively monitors our platform for any form of misuse, investigates all reported issues, and also works with law enforcement on any investigations they deem necessary.”
Giacobbe the fundraiser, seemingly created under false pretenses, “sickening.”
“Give the money back, Maria, to families that do have children who are very ill who need the money. Give it to the burn unit. I mean, enough is enough!” Giacobbe railed.
“She made a lie. This was a lie. She used him… she used her child to get that money.”