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UPDATE: Well now we know what happened. Bethany Storro says she rubbed drain cleaner on her face in order to kill herself.
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, which ended up being some form of acid, in her face.
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. Which, considering her family says she never wears sunglasses, has to stand as some kind of miracle.
"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. "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."
Like Bethany's mother, police are also stumped as to what kind of person would do this. They have no suspects, and are hoping someone saw something around 7 p.m. on Monday night when the incident happened.
UPDATE: Storro pulled out of a planned Oprah appearance earlier in the week, which one paper interpreted as a sign that she was making the whole thing up.
On her Facebook page, Storro initially wrote that she wanted to go on the show to "inspire people and tell them about Jesus." She canceled, she said, because the "he show was going to possibly turn into another direction." What that direction is, however, no one is saying.
Storro's friends and family are understandably unimpressed with the claim that the attack is a hoax. As are Vancouver police, who say that right now they have no reason to suspect Storro's wounds were self-inflicted.
UPDATE: At a press conference today, Vancouver Police Chief Clifford Cook said that Storro had admitted to the hoax.
Cook said that police started to get suspicious when parts of Storro's story didn't add up. Eventually they asked for and got a search warrant on her house, which they executed this morning. After the search they interviewed Storro, who admitted to making up the part about the random black woman who attacked her.
"She is extremely upset and very remorseful," said police Commander Marla Shuman. "In many ways, this just got bigger than she expected."
No one is really saying why Storro might have gone to such painful lengths to garner a little sympathy. But police say they will take her mental health into consideration before pressing charges.
One thing that was real in this whole mess: the acid Storro used to scar her face. A burn surgeon who operated on Storro said was as strong as hydrochloric or sulfuric acid.
UPDATE: It's not the way most people would try to commit suicide. But Storro says the once she realized the drain cleaner wasn't going to kill her, she thought getting a new face might be a decent consolation prize.
Storro's story first started to fall apart when investigators noticed that it didn't look like she'd had acid splashed on her. That's when she admitted to going into a park bathroom hours before cops were called, putting on gloves and applying the cleaner to her face with a towel.
Because it's illegal in Washington to defraud people who have come to your assistance, Storro is now facing charges of theft for taking money from three fundraisers in her honor. A California man sent a $1,000 donation. Safeway gave her $3,000. And another fund had raised $20,000.
Storro said she'd spent a couple thousand already on trips to Seattle and medical bills, including a $620 bill for a chemical peel she'd had two weeks prior to the incident. Storro's family says they'll return the rest of the money.