Bethany Storro's acid attack hoax

Bethany Storro
Here's the progression of a deception, told via the words of other sources.

Bethany Storro's attacker
Bethany Storro, victim of acid attack, said she could hear her skin burning

Bethany Storro was celebrating her new job when a stranger approached her and asked, "Hey pretty girl, do you want to drink this?"

The attacker tossed a cup full of acid in Storro’s face. Her skin immediately began to sizzle.

"It was the most painful thing ever," she said from the hospital Thursday. "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."

Just prior to the attack, Storro was on cloud nine over her new job. As a treat, she bought herself a new pair of sunglasses.

The present turned out to be a lifesaver, protecting her from almost certain blindness if the acid had hit her eyes.

Storro described her attacker as a black woman in her late 20s wearing khaki pants and her hair in a ponytail.

"I have never, ever seen this girl in my entire life," Storro said. "When I first saw her, she had this weirdness about her - like jealousy, rage."

Despite the severe damage to her face, Storro, who lost most of her hearing after two bouts of spinal meningitis as a child, was happy she could still see.

"I’m just so glad it’s a miracle."

New York Daily News>>

Bethany Storro in the hospital
Rumors of Hoax Surround Acid Attack Victim

"Police are aware of growing media speculation that a Washington state woman who says a stranger doused her face with acid may have staged the attack herself, but they say their investigation is still open."

From the victim's Facebook page:

"We are not going to comment on the recent article or statements made," the post read. "And dear friends, you don't have to defend me. It's ok. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Read Psalm 23. I want to bring joy, faith, and hope. That's it!"

Storro's former mother-in-law, Pamela Storro, defended her in an interview with

"There is no way ever that she would do anything like this," Pamela Storro said, adding that the allegations are "as hideous as the crime itself."

AOL News>>

Psalm 23, King James Version of the Bible

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Bible Gateway, Psalm 23>>

Bethany Storro in bandages
After allegations, victim cancels her appearance on Oprah.

Bethany Storro's Facebook page:

"So... things have changed. AND IT'S OKAY. Sometimes there is a reason (most of the time there is)... I was going to be on Oprah, but not going to happen! From the very beginning I wanted to inspire people (hope I have) and tell them about Jesus. The show was going to possibly turn into another direction, so my family and I decided not to go on. I hope you understand and will still check in on me :)"

Monsters and Critics>>

A sign for a Bethany Storro fundraiser outside a fitness club
Self-defense class raises funds for acid attack victim

Outside the fitness club Friday evening, the Neuwelts stood before news cameras before the class and thanked a long list of people and businesses that helped raise money for Storro’s medical treatments.

“I just want to say ‘thank you’ to the community,” Nancy Neuwelt said. “It’s been incredible.”

As for Storro, her mother said, “She’s doing better and she’s amazing. I took her out for a little bit today. We went to get a coffee and get out in the fresh air. She’s doing better, and people were coming up and just encouraging her.”

“If anything, Bethany is going to become stronger from this, even a better person,” Joe Neuwelt said. “People love her and people will continue to love her.”

The Columbian>>

Woman admits acid attack was self-inflicted

Police on Friday described a Vancouver, Wash., woman who poured acid over her own face and then claimed to have been attacked as an "upset, shaking, crying, very sad, very sad little girl."

Speaking on the TODAY show, Commander Marla Schuman said investigators had quickly come to the conclusion that Bethany Storro, 28, had faked the Aug. 30 attack, but that "until you actually hear it from her own mouth" they could not be entirely sure.

Police Chief Clifford Cook said at a Thursday afternoon news conference that Storro told detectives the truth during an interview after increasing discrepancies emerged in her story.

Her interview was conducted after a search of her home, which she shares with her parents, police said. Interviews with her family are continuing, they said.


Vancouver police commander: Charges 'possible' against Bethany Storro

A police commander who helped oversee the investigation into a Vancouver woman's false claim last month that an attacker threw acid in her face, told the Today Show's Matt Lauer that criminal charges may be laid against 28-year-old Bethany Storro.

Storro admitted that she had disfigured herself Thursday under questioning by detectives.

The investigation was "incredibly expensive and wasted a lot of valuable resources," Cmdr. Marla Schuman told the morning news show.

Police are continuing their investigation and will eventually forward it to Clark County prosecutors who will determine whether to pursue charges against Storro, who appears to face at least accusations of filing a false police report, Schuman said.

Police remained baffled as to why Storro would hurt herself in such a horrible way.

"It's obvious to everybody here that she's got a fragile mental state," Schuman said at a news conference on Thursday.

Storro recently divorced and moved from Idaho back in with her parents. She had just started a job at an area Safeway.

Oregon Live>>

Derri Velarde of Mesa Arizona was also the victim of an attack
Second Acid Attack Victim: Word of Hoax Made Me Ill

But the story became even more painful just four days later. In what may be a copycat crime, 41-year-old Derri Velarde, a mother of five, was getting out of her car at her Mesa, Ariz., home when a woman threw a glass of acid at her.

CBS News>>

An abstract from the May 2004 issue of the medical journal Burns:

Women victims of self-inflicted burns in Tabriz, Iran

From 20 March 1998 through 20 March 2002, a total of 412 cases of self-burning were admitted to the burn center of East Azarbaijan, located in the city of Tabriz, Iran. The average age was 25.5 years; 99% of self-burning cases were female. A total of 76.5% of those patients were in the 15-19 and 20-29 year age groups. Most cases were married, housekeepers and illiterate and poor. Seventy-five percent of the patients had impulsive suicidal intention. The major motive was marital conflict. The mortality rate was 79.6%. The mean burned surface area was 65.5%. Kerosene was used by 77% of the patients as a burning agent.>> 

For updates on this story, see the comments.


  1. An update:

    Storro: I wanted to kill myself

    Bethany Storro now says she was trying to kill herself, or at least get a new face, when she applied caustic drain cleaner to herself and said a stranger had attacked her.

    Monday afternoon, Deputy Prosecutor Tony Golik said he is filing three second-degree theft charges against the 28-year-old Vancouver woman.

    "Then, when I realized it wasn't killing me, I thought maybe this was the answer to all my problems. To have a completely different face," she said according to an affidavit filed Monday in Clark County Superior Court.

    Storro, who had recently moved to her parents' home in Vancouver after being divorced in Idaho, told authorities she thought it would be the answer to all her problems.

    The Columbian>>

  2. Storro has been released without bond to a local mental health facility. Storro's family, who received about $28,000 in donations, has returned some and intends to return the rest.

    LA Times>>,0,7171531.story

  3. On April 8, 2011, Ms. Storro pleaded guilty to making a false statement to police. She was sentenced to pay a $500 fine, must seek mental health treatment, pay nearly $4,000 in restitution to the police and serve 240 hours of community service.

    The $28,000 in donations has been returned.

    Ms. Storro said: "I am genuinely and deeply sorry, and I am getting the help I need."


  4. In January 2013, Bethany Storro and coauthor Mona Krueger released a book called "Facing The Truth," about Bethany's experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.


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