Vancouver authorities are debating whether or not to prosecute 28-year-old Bethany Storro for perpetrating a hoax when she claimed that a stranger threw acid in her face. Storro confessed to making up the story of the acid attack Thursday after Vancouver investigators confronted her with inconsistencies in the story of her attack. Although it is unclear as to what the consequences of her actions might eventually be, The Oregonian reported that she would probably face at least a charge of filing a false police report.
“It’s obvious to everybody here that she’s got a fragile mental state,” Cmdr. Marla Schuman announced at a press conference on Thursday.
“She is extremely upset and remorseful,” Schuman added. “This got much bigger than she expected.”
Storro, a recent divorcee, had just moved to the area from Idaho and was staying with her parents. She had also just taken a job at a local Safeway grocery store.
Bethany Storro made national headlines on Aug. 30 when she was hospitalized for acid burns to her face. She told law enforcement that she had been walking in downtown Vancouver on her way to Starbucks when an unknown African American woman approached her.
“Hey pretty girl, do you want to drink this?” the woman reportedly said, revealed Storro at a press conference. The woman then tossed liquid from a cup into her face.
“I have never, ever seen this girl in my entire life,” the young woman recounted, according to the Daily Mail. “When I first saw her, she had this weirdness about her – like jealousy, rage.
“Was it a dare, or did the woman wake up Monday morning and tell herself that today, she was going to ‘carry some acid in a cup and throw it on the first person I see?'”
That liquid turned out to be acid, leaving Storro’s faced burned, except for patches around her eyes. Storro’s mother said it was a “miracle” that her daughter’s eyes had been saved by purchasing a pair of sunglasses not 20 minutes before the incident.
Bethany Storro’s story went international and an outpouring of sympathy was directed her way. Pictures of a heavily bandaged and, later, a swollen-faced and scabbed Storro only added to the outrage and the sympathy.
Police began to suspect Storro’s story when they couldn’t find corroborative witnesses to the attack, which supposedly occurred in a public place in broad daylight. Also, the burns to the young woman’s face appeared to be consistent with the irritant being placed, poured, or rubbed into the skin, not thrown. Investigators also noted that the burns were not forensically consistent with the wearing of large sunglasses, reaching higher up the cheekbones than should have been possible.
The Internet began to catch fire as well with speculation that Bethany Storro had fabricated the story.
Storro was to appear on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Thursday. She canceled, saying the show was going in a “different direction” than what she had anticipated.
According to law enforcement officials, the acid attack hoax cost taxpayers thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of pointless investigation.
It is still unclear why Bethany Storro chose to subject herself to painful burns. It is also unclear why she chose as her fictitious attacker a woman of African American race. What is absolutely clear is that Storro was entirely truthful when she said, “I have never, ever seen this girl in my entire life.”