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Going under for the big operation

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The young girl who suffered burns after a friend dumped boiling water on her face is on the mend.

Jamoneisha “Jamoni” Merritt is in good spirits less than two weeks after she was attacked during a sleepover. “I’m so great,” she told the New York Daily News. “Now I’m dancing and listening to music.”

Her mother, Ebony Merritt, paints a more detailed and realistic look at her recovery, revealing that Jamoni’s school schedule may be difficult to work around. At this point, she is expected to miss the start of the upcoming school year, and its possible that she may need to be home-schooled.

On the bright side, much of the hard part of her healing is over. As Ebony explained, “Her arm is still raw it hasn’t healed yet … [and she] can’t go outside in the sun.”

Last week, she was almost unrecognizable as her face was covered in blisters. While Jamoni’s face is mostly healed from her burns, it’s not completely back to normal yet. “It’s going to take maybe about six months for all her color to come back in,” Ebony told The Daily News.

Jamoni was burned after a girl named Aniya Grant Stuart threw boiling water on her in act that resembled the “Hot Water Challenge.”

During her chat with The Daily News, she spoke out for the first time about the attack. As she told reporters, her injuries were the result of a cruel joke. She recalled that her alleged attacker, Aniya Grant, and other friends had warned they would pull a prank on her, if she fell asleep.

“I didn’t know what they was gonna do but I felt tired,” Jamoni recalled. “So after I was dancing I just sat on the couch and I fell asleep.”

She remembers waking up feeling like her face was on fire and screaming in pain. “I was screaming because it burned, it burned, it burned, it burned,” she remembered.

Aniya’s mom tried to heal Jamoni by putting ice cubes on her face and giving her a cold shower while the girls tried to get her to quiet down. “They were saying stop yelling and buggin,” Jamoni said, revealing that her attackers didn’t seem to grasp the severity of the injuries they had caused.

The victim shared that the girls only offered a half-hearted apology. Aniya was taken into custody, where she later attempted suicide, as her case was turned over to Family Court.

Ebony shared that she believes Aniya’s mother, and the three other girls involved in the attack, should also be arrested in this incident.

“The mother is just as involved as the other kids,” Ebony stated. “This happened at 4 a.m. but they didn’t come to my house until 5:30. That means she was there for an hour and a half while they were trying to cover their tracks.”

It’s possible that Ebony may see more arrests in this horrifying incident. According to Jamoni and Ebony’s family lawyer, Paul Prestia, he’s confident that charges will be brought against “anyone responsible for harming Jamoni that night.” Whether Aniya’s mother will be among those being charged remains to be seen.

“[Jamoni] needs some semblance of justice for those scars,” Prestia said, adding that he believes the young lady has been an incredible example of resilience. “Her spirit and courage should really be an inspiration to so many young people — especially those who’ve been the victims of bullying,”


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