The revelation that Bethany Storro was not attacked but instead splashed acid in her own face has left her community shocked and saddened with disbelief, and the hoax has left some angry.
"It makes me sick. I don't understand why would anyone need attention that badly?" said Vancouver, Wash., resident Marjorie Donovan.
Vancouver Police announced Thursday that 28-year-old Storro had fabricated the Aug. 30 attack that left her severely burned and garnered media attention worldwide -- including an invitation to appear on Oprah Winfrey's talk show.
"I'm shocked," was all that Pamela Storro, Storro's former mother-in-law, would say of her former daughter-in-law's alleged confession. Earlier this week she told ABC News that rumors that the acid attack was a hoax were "insane" and that there was "no way" her former daughter-in-law would do this to herself.
Bethany Storro has not made an official statement to the media that the attack was a hoax.
John Pax, the gym owner who held a fundraising to help offset Storro's medical expenses following the attack, said that he too is in "disbelief."
"We put aside our business because we found someone in need, one of our own members," he said. "We felt for her."
Nancy Neuwalt, Storro's mother, said that she is focusing on helping her daughter recover from the tragedy before seeking answers. "As to the question of why she did this, there were no signs and we really don't know why at this point but it is our hope the medical community can find answers," Neuwalt said.
"She has got a long road ahead of her and we are going to walk it with her," she added.
Storro had originally told authorities a stranger had splashed acid in her face while she walked through a popular park in Vancouver, Wash. But police said that soon after they began investigating the claims -- which included releasing a sketch of a suspect Storro claimed was responsible for the attack -- facts weren't adding up.
"Truthfully there were red flags from the beginning," Vancouver Police Commander Marla Schuman told "Good Morning America" today. "Initially just the manner of the attack, when she's talking about being splashed in the face with acid and the demarcation, the placement of injuries on her face… the thought that she was wearing sunglasses at 7:30 at night when she normally doesn't wear sunglasses. Just small things that didn't quite add up to a picture of normalcy," Schuman said.
Police, announcing their investigation was closed Thursday, said they had spent hundreds of hours looking for a perpetrator and did not speculate on Storro's motive.
"She doesn't have a criminal history, we didn't have knowledge of any mental issues," Schuman said today.
Storro's seemingly horrifying story captured international attention and spawned donations to a fund set up for her. Schuman said Storro could face charges if they determine Storro accessed those funds, in addition to a possible charge for filing a false report.
In 2008 a volunteer for the McCain Presidential campaign made up a story about an attacker scratching a letter in her face, and in 2004 a woman in Paris falsely claimed she was marked with swastikas.
Experts report people seeking notoriety for self inflicted wounds is all too common, with 72 percent of self-injury coming from cutting and 35 percent from burning.