The 11-year-old severely burned in a horrific sleepover prank remains hospitalized. Jamoneisha Merritt's mother wrote on a GoFundMe page, "She suffered 2nd degree burns to her face, neck, shoulders and chest that are so severe the doctors will not let her look at her injuries."
Jamoneisha was a victim of the "Hot Water Challenge," a social media-driven stunt where kids are encouraged to pour boiling water on friends or drink it themselves and post the footage online; an 8-year-old girl in Florida died after drinking boiling water. On Monday morning, a 12-year-old girl poured a cup of water on Jamoneisha who was sleeping in the Bronx apartment.
"Her and her friend got into an argument," Jamoneisha's cousin claimed. "She told her if she goes to sleep, they were gonna do something to her. So, it was like 3:00 in the morning so she went to sleep. The girl on tape says she boiled water and she threw it on her."
Jamoneisha was taken to Harlem Hospital, and Ebony Merritt said that around 5:30 a.m., the prankster's mother came to her apartment with the police: "She came in there and said, ‘Your daughter is burned up.'... I’m very confused. That was a sick and vicious act.” From the NY Times:
Ms. Merritt said her daughter and the other girl were friends who lived across the street from each other the past six years. She said she and the other girl’s mother frequently watched each other’s children, alternating sleepovers on the weekends. Ms. Merritt said she had also taken the other girl on numerous trips out of town.
The 12-year-old girl was arrested but was taken to Bronx Lebanon Hospital because she tried to kill herself, according to her mother Shernett Panton. Panton told the Daily News, "They always prank each other. My daughter was sleeping and Jamoni poured cold water on [my daughter]. My daughter was like, ‘OK, if you’re gonna do a prank on me, I’m gonna prank you back.’"
She added, "But my daughter — I don’t know what she was thinking — boiled hot water and poured it on Jamoni’s face."
Ebony Merritt wrote on the fundraising page, "I come to all of you as humbly as I possibly can to ask for your help in this tragedy and to assist my family in dealing with the aftermath of this horrific crime as we were unprepared to deal with all of the costs that will be incurred for my daughter to make a full recovery. Besides initial hospital bills, there is also the possibility that multiple skin graphs, plastic surgery & miscellaneous hospital visits will be needed. We also want to make sure that she attends counseling to make sure we heal her insides as well as her outside."
To reporters outside the hosptial, Merritt also said she wants "justice for my daughter. I want all that was involved to be brought to justice. I want ACS to come and do their job."
Merritt added that her daughter saw her face and was "okay with it" but is still "traumatized."