"A punch in the gut," is how the Waverly Junior Warriors Football president described the feeling to parents when he learned all their funds were gone.
"I found out just before the holidays, and just didn't want to put this on everybody at Christmas time," Waverly Junior Warriors President Jim Kilfoyle said.
The holidays came and went, and now parents and coaches heard for the first time Tuesday night that their children's football league has no money in the bank. Kilfoyle said up to $11,000 was embezzled. Parents now worry about the upcoming season.
"It was truly a shock to me that this did happen to kids," Junior Warriors Coach and father Tony Castilla said. "These kids didn't do anything to deserve this. But unfortunately, it did happen, and as of right now, they're the ones that are paying for it."
The league can't even pay its bills right now, much less think about the earmarks for those missing funds.
"We had anticipated buying equipment for all of our kids in the league with it, and we also were setting up a scholarship fund," Kilfoyle said.
The Eaton County Sheriff's office began its investigation in December. The sheriff can't reveal much yet, but detectives are combing over lots of evidence.
"There's bank records, there's checking accounts," Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich said. "Several things that have to be going through, as well as the interviews, and there's more to go. It's an open investigation."
As the interviews continue, the warriors hope the community will step up.
"We're definitely looking forward to their support to help us, because we're looking forward to continuing on and giving a good program like we've always had for the kids in our community," Kilfoyle said.
Parents remain optimisitc the warriors will be able to live up to their name for another season.
"They will come together and make this happen, I do believe that," Castilla said.
The group plans to meet again in two weeks to get fundraising efforts in motion.
A Waverly Junior Warriors Winter Skills Clinic is still planned for Jan. 31.