Girl, 11, makes incredible recovery after friend poured boiling water over her during sleepover

Jamoneisha Merritt, whose face was discoloured and swollen by the scalding water, says she feels 'great' following her discharge from hospital

Greg Wilford
Saturday 19 August 2017 12:43 BST
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Jamoneisha, whose face was discoloured and swollen by the boiling water, now looks back to normal and says she feels "great" following her return home.
Jamoneisha, whose face was discoloured and swollen by the boiling water, now looks back to normal and says she feels "great" following her return home. (Family Handout)

An 11-year-old girl has made an incredible recovery after a friend poured boiling water over her face at a sleepover.

Jamoneisha “Jamoni” Merritt was rushed to hospital with horrific burns after Aniya Grant Stuart, 12, splashed scalding water onto her while she slept at a house in the Bronx, New York, on 7 August.

Aniya was charged with felony assault after the incident, which was said to be a "prank" gone horribly wrong.

Child gets scolded with hot water at sleepover causing horrific face burns

Jamoneisha was taken to intensive care at Harlem Hospital Centre and spent 11 days being treated for second-degree burns over 85% of her face before she was discharged on Friday.

The upbeat youngster, whose face was discoloured and swollen by the boiling water, now looks back to normal and says she feels "great" following her return home.

“Now I’m dancing and listening to music,” she told New York Daily News.

Jamoneisha Merritt was a "bundle of joy" before the incident, her family said
Jamoneisha Merritt was a "bundle of joy" before the incident, her family said

Jamoneisha will still need to take time off school and avoid spending time in the sun while burns to her arms and shoulders continue to heal.

She says Aniya and two other girls told her they would prank her if she fell asleep shortly before the alleged assault.

"I didn’t know what they was gonna do but I felt tired," Jamoneisha told New York Daily News.

“So after I was dancing I just sat on the couch and I fell asleep.”

The child said when the water was poured onto her “I was screaming because it burned, it burned, it burned, it burned”.

Police are looking into whether the incident was inspired by a YouTube trend known as the "Hot Water Challenge", where children throw boiling water over unsuspecting friends.

Aniya reportedly tried to kill herself with a knife after she saw the injuries she had inflicted on her friend.

She was treated for her injuries in a separate hospital and kept on suicide watch.

Aniya's mother Shernett Panton, who held ice on Jamoneisha's burns, said: “They always prank each other. My daughter was sleeping and Jamoni poured cold water on Aniya. My daughter was like, "OK, if you’re going to do a prank on me, I’m going to prank you back.

“But my daughter — I don’t know what she was thinking — boiled hot water and poured it on Jamoneisha's face.

“What she did was really wrong, but it’s too much right now. My daughter is 12. Everybody makes mistakes.”

Jamoneisha's mother Ebony Merritt said her daughter is often targeted by bullies.

She claimed Ms Panton helped Aniya and her friends to "cover their tracks" after the incident and called for them all to be arrested, telling New York Daily News: "The mother is just as involved as the other kids.

“This happened at 4am. 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.”

The proud mother posted pictures of Jamoneisha relaxing at home after she was discharged from hospital.

Ms Merritt wrote on Facebook: “She's in good spirits. She’s great she want[s] to thank all of y'all for the love that you showed her.”

More than $22,000 has been raised for Jamoneisha's ongoing medical costs through a GoFundMe page.

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