Her Murder Led to Serial Killer 1
Fugitive Kidnapper Kills Himself 2
Unlikely Manhunt Leads to Tragedy 3

Bethany Storro Gets Acid Splashed in Her Face by Unknown Woman

By Pete Kotz in bizarre, unsolved
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 8:36 am
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UPDATE: Bethany Storro admitted she rubbed drain cleaner on her face in a park bathroom to commit suicide -- or at least get her face redone if that whole killing herself thing didn't work out. She's now been charged with theft for allowing three fundraisers to take place on her behalf. See update after the jump...

Bethany Storro had just gotten something out of her car and was about to head to a Starbucks in Vancouver, Washington. That's when a woman approached her out of the blue and said, "Hey pretty girl, do you want to drink this?"

The woman then threw a cup of liquid in her face, which ended up being some form of acid.

Bethany is now recovering at a hospital burn center. And while one's immediate thought is that this is a revenge attack over some perceived sin or slight, she says she doesn't even know the woman, who's only described as black with slicked back hair in a pony-tail.

We're not certain about the extent of Bethany's injuries, but it seems a pair of sunglasses she'd purchased just hours before saved her from going blind.

"Who wakes up in the morning and says, 'I'm going to go and burn somebody's face with acid?'" her mother Nancy Neuwelt told KOMO-TV. "It's pretty bizarre. I don't know what kind of a person -- obviously, there's something wrong. But we're going to do what we need to do."

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Bethany's glasses likely saved her from becoming blind, but the attack did pretty serious damage to her face.
UPDATE: Bethany is now in fair condition and expected to be released from the hospital within days.

Doctors at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland say she'll undergo treatment to remove the skin damaged in the attack. But as you can see from the photo above, it did some pretty serious damage to her face.

The single woman had just moved back to her hometown of Vancouver after living in Priest River, Idaho. She worked at a grocery store in a neighboring town.

A test of the substance used in the attack was found to be either sulfuric or hydrochloric acid. Both are found in common household cleaners. Her glasses kept it from getting in her eyes. Her neck, mouth and hair were also spared, but she took a pretty solid drenching to the face. A passerby found her near her car screaming of being burned and ran to get a wet towel.

Doctors will use a technique called dermabrasion to remove dead skin in hopes of staving off long-term scarring.

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A police sketch of the woman who attacked Bethany with a cup of acid
UPDATE II: Bethany recounts the attack that burned her face.

Bethany told the Associated Press that after the acid was splashed on her face, she fell to the ground in pain and screamed as she felt her skin bubble and sizzle and her blouse begin to burn away.

"It was the most painful thing ever," she told the AP. "My heart stopped. It ripped through my clothing the instant it touched my shirt; I could feel it burning through my second layer of skin."

Bethany had spinal meningitis twice when she was young, which has left her extremely hard of hearing. She even laughed at how much trouble she'd be to other people if she was both blind and deaf.

"Oh my gosh, to be hard of hearing and blind? That would drive them nuts," she laughed, pointing to her parents. "They have to be in the same room for me to hear them. I'm just so glad it's a miracle."

But she still has no idea who attacked her or why, leaving us to believe the assailant was either a crazed nut, or may have mistaken Bethany for someone else. "I have never, ever seen this girl in my entire life. When I first saw her, she had this weirdness about her -- like jealousy, rage."

In the meantime, police have released a sketch of the lady.

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Bethany has been released from the hospital and is reportedly doing well.
UPDATE III: Vancouver media have suggested that Bethany may have thrown acid on herself.

It would seem a rather unbecoming assertion, accusing a victim of injuring herself. But that's exactly what some in the Vancouver media are doing. Marcus Griffith, a reporter for the Vancouver Voice, is chief among those questioning Bethany's tale of her attack.

In interviews with homeless guys in the park where the attack occurred, witnesses say they never saw anyone near Bethany at the time. Griffith has also interviewed cops and store owners who buy into the same speculation. Moreover, he questions how the acid never got in her mouth, or how Bethany just happened to be wearing sunglasses at night to shield her eyes.

The crowning suspicion: Bethany abruptly canceled an appearance on Oprah not long after the speculation rose.

Police aren't helping matters. While they officially say they're still looking for a suspect, they refuse to comment on the latest speculation, saying "The reasons will become clear later," according to The Columbian.

Frankly, we're not sure what to make of this. There's always a chance that someone could decide to splash acid on their own face. Regular readers of this site know unexplained weirdness happens every day.

But if you wanted attention, this is about the most painful way to ever go about it. It also implies that a woman would purposely scar herself for the rest of her life -- or at least sentence her remaining days to a series of gruesome surgeries.

Moreover, bums from the park don't make the best witnesses. And it's always dangerous to parse the official words of cops during investigations; they're widely regarded as ham-fisted bullshitters until they've actually made an arrest. As Griffith readily acknowledges, he possesses no concrete knowledge that Bethany actually fabricated the attack.

UPDATE IV: Bethany Storro confesses to throwing acid in her own face.

We here at True Crime Report are sitting down to a nice breakfast of humility, because we sure were wrong about this case. Yesterday, Bethany admitted that she threw acid on her own face, though police still don't have a motive.

Police have used words like "mentally fragile" to describe her, and she recently moved back to the area after divorcing in Idaho. Now she may be looking at charges for wasting a huge amount of police time.

Bethany's story began to fall apart after detectives couldn't find any witnesses who saw the supposed assailant when she began screaming. They also found that the burning on her face suggested that the acid had been poured and rubbed on her, not splashed from a distance.

Why anyone would purposely burn the shit out of their own face, we don't know. But it's a sad case all around. 

UPDATE V: Bethany rubbed drain cleaner on her face to commit suicide -- or at least get her face redone.

Yes, that's the reason she decided to inflict this awful pain on herself. But detectives soon found inconsistencies in her story. Her face didn't match photos of other victims who'd been splashed with acid, and the chemical appeared to be rubbed on rather than thrown. Detectives also found she'd never been in the store where she claimed to have purchased sunglasses just hours before.

After being confronted, Bethany admitted to buying drain cleaner at a hardware store, then applying it herself in a park restroom. It was apparently the world's worst attempt to commit suicide. But if that didn't work out, she thought it would at least allow her to get her face redone. She also believed police would soon stop looking for her fictitious assailant.

But her legal problems began when loads of people came to her aid. Michael Kite of California sent $1,000 via PayPal. Anytime Fitness and Safeway also held fundraisers. She'd deposited $4,000 in her own bank account. Another account set up for donations held $20,000.

In Washington, it's a crime to defraud people come to your assistance, so she's now been charged with theft three counts of theft from people or companies acting as Good Samaritans.

See our last tale of acid attacks: Ruben Olivares Douses Man with Acid After Catching Him With His Transgendered Lover.

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