NEW YORK (WCBS/CNN) - Jamoneishia Merritt, 11, has not been given a mirror to look at the severe damage done to her face and neck.
“We’re trying to keep her spirits up, talking to her,” said the girl’s aunt, Lawrene Merritt.
The family shared a heartbreaking photo of the girl in the burn unit at Harlem Hospital, permanently scarred after she was viciously and intentionally scalded while at a sleepover, surrounded by young girls she considered her friends.
Police say while Merritt slept, a 12-year-old girl threw boiling water in her face, which scalded her awake. Merritt suffered burns to her face, back and shoulders and was rushed to the hospital in serious but stable condition.
It happened Monday morning inside an apartment building in the Bronx.
The girl’s mother, Ebony Merritt, has talked to prosecutors about the felony criminal charges facing the 12-year-old attacker. Merritt also said she thinks the one adult inside the apartment did not do enough to prevent the attack.
Other relatives are angry and say they want justice for Jamoneishia.
“They were very wicked,” Lawrene Merritt said of her niece’s so-called friends. “That didn’t make sense. I mean, I couldn’t even imagine a child doing that to another child.”
Investigators are looking into whether this crime was inspired by an apparent social media trend that’s dubbed “the hot water challenge.” It involves six stunts in which unsuspecting victims get hot water thrown at them.
Eight-year-old Ki’ari Pope of Florida died after apparently taking part in what may have been a variation on the craze by drinking boiling water as part of a dare with another child.
The victim’s mother posted on social media, saying that she wants all parents to be aware of what their children are doing and to talk to them about the dangerous, sick stunts they see online.
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