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Nassau cops offer $10G reward to help nab culprit in acid attack on woman

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder described an

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder described an acid attack on a Hofstra University student as "a vicious and heinous crime." Credit: Barry Sloan

An acid attack in March in Elmont left a Hofstra University student's face disfigured and has prompted a $10,000 reward by Nassau police for help catching the assailant.

The attack on the 21-year-old woman, which was captured by a home surveillance camera, occurred on the night of March 17, Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said in a statement provided by his office.

Ryder said an "unknown subject threw a hazardous substance in her face which resulted in serious injuries to her face and eyes."

The suspect is male, about 6-feet-2 with a "skinny build" and wearing a hooded, black sweatshirt and gloves, said police, who offered few additional details, citing the continuing investigation.

Newsday is not naming the woman because she is the victim of a crime. Her plight has gained the attention of the Pakistani American Coalition of Long Island, which has decried the assault on its Facebook page. The victim is of Pakistani ancestry.

The page was set up by a neighbor to help with medical bills stemming from the aftermath of the attack, Ryder said in the statement.

"This attack was a vicious and heinous crime and I am personally requesting anyone with knowledge to come forward," he said in the statement.

On Tuesday, Padma Lakshmi, the India-born host of the popular reality cooking show, "Top Chef," joined the call to help with an appeal to her fans. In a video posted on Twitter, Lakshmi said the injuries, which she described in excruciating deal, have shattered the life of the woman, a family friend's daughter.

The page showed photos of the victim before the attack and in the hospital and had raised more than $300,000 by Wednesday night. Lakshmi linked it to her own Twitter bio.

"She was attacked in front of her own house a month ago, and acid was thrown in her face, and her whole face is injured and burned," Lakshmi said in the video. "They don't even know if she'll be able to see properly ever again, because she had contacts in and the acid burned and melted the contacts into her eyes, and she screamed when it happened so the acid went inside as well, and so she's still not able to eat solid food a month later."

Lakshmi says the victim comes from a Pakistani family.

Anthony Jackson, chief of staff for Lakshmi, said the victim is the daughter of a family friend.

The GoFundMe page set up for the family includes a 42-second home surveillance video, which shows the woman arriving at her Arlington Avenue residence on the night of the attack. In the video, the victim and a woman identified as her mother park their car outside the home. As the mother walks to the house, the victim goes to the rear passenger side to retrieve packages. She then walks to the house. The video, time-stamped starting at 7:41 p.m., shows someone run across the lawn, splash her in the face with the liquid, turn and run off out of the frame.

A statement on the GoFundMe page said the substance caused "severe burning" to the woman's "face, eyes, chest, and arms" and melted a contact lens she was wearing on her right eye.

"We don't know," the statement said, "if [she] will ever regain vision [in that eye] again."

According to the statement, the woman "has stayed incredibly strong throughout this horrific event," adding her "only wish is that the attacker is caught so that she can feel safe in her own home."

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