Acid Attack Hoaxer to Face Charges: Bethany Storro Accepted Donations After Faked Assault

Bethany Storro, 28, confessed she splashed acid on herself.

Sept. 20, 2010 — -- Bethany Storro, the 28-year-old woman who falsely claimed she was maimed by a stranger who splashed acid in her face, will face charges of second-degree theft for accepting donations from three strangers who tried to help her.

Storro admitted to investigators in Vancouver, Washington, last week that she splashed the acid on herself.

Tony Golik, a deputy prosecutor, told ABC affiliate KATU there is now a warrant for Storro's arrest, though it will not be carried out immediately because she is still in a local hospital.

He said prosecutors will seek higher-than-usual penalties because, as one court document put it, "the defendant committed the offense against a victim who was acting as a Good Samaritan."

Golik said second-degree theft charges can bring two to five months in prison.

The "aggravating circumstances," however, allow a judge to sentence a person to up to five years for three counts.

Police, announcing their investigation was closed last Thursday, said they had spent hundreds of hours looking for a perpetrator. 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 gave interviews from the hospital, her face wrapped 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. There were racial overtones; Storro claimed her attacker was an African-American woman.

Storro was invited to be a guest on Oprah Winfrey's show, but when news outlets began to report that suggestions that police suspected the attack was faked, the appearance was canceled.

Acid Victim Who Faked Attack Will Face Charges

In a post on her Facebook page, 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 Vancouver Voice reporter wrote about visiting the park where Storro was allegedly attacked and speaking 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."

Bethany Storro admitted to the hoax 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 last week. "So, tragic as this may be, there is a happy ending."