After launching an intense manhunt for a crazed black woman who threw acid in a Vancouver woman's face, police announced the "victim" admitted she made the whole thing up.
"She is extremely upset and very remorseful," said police Cmdr. Marla Schuman. "In many ways, this just got bigger than she expected."
"It seems clear to everyone that we have a person here who is in a fragile mental state," she added.
Bethany Storro's story made worldwide headlines after she reported an apparently random acid attack on Aug. 30. Storro told police a black woman carrying a styrofoam cup approached her as she was getting into her car, and said, “Hey, pretty girl, want something to drink?”
When she declined, Storro said the woman threw a caustic substance from the cup into her face. Storro was treated for 2nd degree burns to her face. Days later she bravely held a press conference in the hospital with her face swathed in bandages, and her parents by her side.
Storro credited her last minute decision to wear sunglasses with saving her eyesight.
But it was that small detail that left investigators baffled: the attack allegedly occurred at 7:40 at night.
Detectives said they began to suspect a hoax after other aspects of the case just didn't add up. For instance, investigators looked at the splash pattern of the acid, and the fact that the acid didn't run down her neck.
The case turned when Storro's story continued to change. On Thursday, Vancouver police served a search warrant on the residence where Storro was staying. They declined to say what they recovered inside the home.
The alleged race of the attacker sparked a barrage of racist comments on newspaper message boards all over the country. Some message boards were shut down due to the violent content of the comments.
Police don't believe Storro's parents knew the attack was a hoax. But they should have informed police that their daughter had a history of mental problems.
"They've been fully cooperative with us today," Schuman said.
Clark County Senior Deputy Prosecutor John Fairgrieve said once their investigation is complete the case will go to the prosecutor. Charges could include making a false or misleading statement to a police officer, a gross misdemeanor that's punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Storro's mental health will be taken into consideration, Fairgrieve said.