Bethany Storro, the 28-year-old woman who got national attention by saying she was maimed by a stranger who splashed acid in her face, has admitted to police in Vancouver, Washington, that her story was a hoax. She told them she splashed the acid on herself.
Police, announcing their investigation was closed, said they had spent hundreds of hours looking for a perpetrator and did not speculate on Storro's motive.
"I think it's obvious to everybody here that she's in a fragile mental state," said police Cdr. Marla Shuman at a news conference in Vancouver late today. "I think prosecutors will take that into account."
"She is extremely upset and very remorseful," said Shuman. "In many ways, this just got bigger than she expected."
Storro had claimed she was attacked outside a coffee shop on Aug. 30.
"A woman approached her and said, 'Hey pretty girl,' and she turned around and she asked if she wanted something to drink, and my daughter said, 'No,'" Storro's mother, Nancy Neuwelt, told reporters at the time. She said the woman then threw a cup of liquid in Storro's face.
Storro appeared on "Good Morning America," her head covered in gauze.
"It was like it almost didn't hurt right away because of the panic, you know, like, what just happened, and you're so focused on that, and then once I let it soak in I could start to feel it burning through my flesh," she said from her hospital bed. She said that by sheer luck, she had bought a pair of sunglasses just minutes before, which protected her eyes.
Attention grew. Storro was invited to be a guest on Oprah Winfrey's show, but then news outlets began to report suggestions that police suspected the attack was faked. On Tuesday the Oprah appearance was canceled.
In a post on her Facebook page last week, which has since been removed, Storro wrote that while she had originally wanted to appear on the show to "inspire people and tell them about Jesus," she changed her mind.
"The show was going to possibly turn into another direction, so my family and I decided not to go on," she wrote. "I hope you understand and will still check in on me."
A spokeswoman for Winfrey's show confirmed to ABCNews.com that Storro had canceled her appearance during which she was expected to speak about "her account of being attacked and scarred with acid." No reason for the cancellation was given by the show.
Acid Victim Faked Attack, Police Say
A Vancouver Voice reporter wrote about visiting the park where Storro was allegedly attacked and spoke to witnesses -- homeless people who identified themselves only by their street names -- who said Storro was "clearly alone when she dropped to the ground screaming."
Pamela Storro, her former mother-in-law, said that her son Travis met Bethany Storro at church in Priest River, Idaho, and had married shortly after. Six years later the couple divorced, a split that Pamela Storro said was amicable and was simply because they had married too young. The couple did not have any children.
She and Travis were still close, and he had visited her in the hospital as recently as last week, said Pamela Storro.
Bethany Storro admitted to the hoax today after police served her with a search warrant, they said.
"I'm glad it ended this way and there isn't someone out there making attacks on innocent strangers," said Vancouver police Sgt. Scott Creager today. "So, tragic as this may be, there is a happy ending."