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Woman, 61, blind in both eyes after stranger threw acid in her face


Philadelphia grandmother, 61, is blinded in both eyes and disfigured after a stranger threw acid in her face in random attack

  • Helen Jones, 61, was walking to her car on October 6 when a man approached her, asking if she was OK, then splashed chemicals in her face
  • Jones suffered burns to both her eyes, lips, tongue and face 
  • Philadelphia Fire Department’s Hazmat Unit determined the liquid was chlorosulfuric acid 

A grandmother was heading to work in Philadelphia last week when a man she did not know approached her, asked how she was doing, then splashed acid in her face and ran off. 

The victim, identified as 61-year-old Helen Jones, was left blind in both eyes and suffering from severe burns on her face as a result of what police described as a random, unprovoked attack that took place in the Germantown neighborhood on October 6. 

According to police, Jones had exited her home in the 5100 block of Newhall Street at around 6.15am and was walking to her car parked just a few steps away when she was accosted by the stranger. 

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Helen Jones, 61, was walking to her car on October 6 in Philadelphia when a man approached her, asking if she was OK, then splashed chemicals in her face

Helen Jones, 61, was walking to her car on October 6 in Philadelphia when a man approached her, asking if she was OK, then splashed chemicals in her face

The unprovoked attacked occurred in the 5100 block of Newhall Street in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, just steps away from Jones' home

The unprovoked attacked occurred in the 5100 block of Newhall Street in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, just steps away from Jones’ home 

Her stepdaughter, Aneesha Summerville, told WPVI that the attacker asked Jones, ‘”Hey, are you good?” As if he was inquiring about her safety making sure she was okay.’

When Jones looked up at the stranger to say she was fine, he threw a mixture of corrosive chemicals in her face and fled on foot.

Neighbors reported hearing Jones’ screaming and banging on the door of her home trying to get back inside.   

The Philadelphia Fire Department’s Hazmat Unit determined that the liquid was chlorosulfuric acid, which is used in the manufacturing of antibacterial products, detergents and dyes. 

Jones was rushed to the hospital, suffering burns to her eyes, lips, and tongue. 

The Philadelphia Fire Department's Hazmat Unit determined the liquid that was thrown in Jones' face was chlorosulfuric acid

The Philadelphia Fire Department’s Hazmat Unit determined the liquid that was thrown in Jones’ face was chlorosulfuric acid

Police officers are seen collecting evidence at the scene of the random acid attack October 6

Police officers are seen collecting evidence at the scene of the random acid attack October 6 

Her stepdaughter said doctors do not know at this point if the woman would ever regain her sight. 

Until the attack, Jones had worked as a phlebotomist at a nursing home. 

‘She has to depend on us now and she’s used to us depending on her. So it’s really hard to deal with,’ Summerville told CBS Philly. 

According to a GoFundMe campaign launched by Jones’ stepdaughter, the woman can not longer earn a living and does not have the means to pay her medical expenses. 

‘Our family was not prepared for such devastation,’ the stepdaughter wrote. ‘We are establishing this fund to help us navigate the endless bills and devastation this unknown masked man has caused Helen and our family. 

‘Helen’s road to recovery is just beginning and we appreciate all of you who want to help us help her.’ 

Until the attack, Jones had worked as a phlebotomist at a nursing home

The once-independent woman suffered burns to her eyes, lips, and tongue, and was left blind

Until the attack, Jones had worked as a phlebotomist at a nursing home. The once-independent woman suffered burns to her eyes, lips, and tongue, and was left blind

Police in Philadelphia are searching for the suspect, who was last seen wearing a surgical mask on his face. 

Summerville said her stepmother only saw the man’s eyes. She added that the attacker possibly has burns on his hands from spilling chemicals.  

As of Friday afternoon, no arrests have been announced.  

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