ELMONT, L.I. — Police on Long Island have been on the hunt for a man who threw acid in the face of a 21-year-old woman outside her home in March, leaving her severely burned and nearly blind. Her father believes the attack was targeted.
Authorities said the woman was walking in the driveway of her Elmont home the night of March 17 when the unknown man came up behind her, wearing gloves, and splashed her in the face with a dark-colored, hazardous substance.
A GoFundMe campaign set up for the victim, identified as Nafiah Fatima Ikram, shared her story and the below surveillance video of the scary incident.
According to the GoFundMe, the liquid caused severe burning to the Hofstra University student’s eyes, chest and arms, and even melted her contact lenses onto her eyes, potentially blinding her.
The woman’s father believes it was not a hate crime, but rather a targeted attack.
“This was pre-planned. They know her, what time she’s going to work, what time she’s coming,” Sheikh Ikram told PIX11’s Anthony DiLorenzo on Thursday.
The concerned father explained the extent of his daughter’s injuries, from which she is still recovering.
“Her eyes is very damaged and her face – maybe we are hoping it will heal, but it’s going to take a long time. She still cannot eat. She’s having difficulty eating even soft foods,” he said. “She’s very scared,” he added.
The woman’s father is also the longtime personal driver for “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi, who put a spotlight on the attack Wednesday by posting a video on Instagram calling for justice for Ikram.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare. Nafiah’s medical costs will be astronomical,” Lakshmi wrote.
The GoFundMe had already raised over $340,000, with over 9,000 donors as of Thursday morning.
Ikram’s father said the family is thankful for all those who donated and showed support. “I don’t know how to thank them. They’re wonderful,” he said.
Officials described the man they’re looking for as standing about 6 feet, 2 inches tall with a skinny build, wearing a black sweatshirt with a hood, and wearing gloves.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said they were offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest, while calling the attack “a vicious and heinous crime.”
“I am hoping and praying someone comes forward with information to catch that person,” the woman’s father said.
Detectives request anyone with information regarding this crime to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS or to call 911. All callers will remain anonymous.
Editor’s note: The victim’s name has been updated upon receiving more information.