Family of a Grandmother Who Became Blind After an Acid Attack Seeks Justice

Photo: (Photo : Aneesha Summerville on GoFundMe)

A random acid attack by a stranger has left a 61-year-old grandmother and phlebotomist blind after throwing acid on her.

According to her family, Helen Jones was attacked by a still unknown masked man on October 6, 2020. The man they say threw chemicals in her face; she was on her way to work from her home in Philadelphia. Jones, who is an essential worker, was just heading to her car that was parked a few steps away from her house in Germantown.

Jones was on her way to work when the attack happened

Speaking to WPVI, Jones' daughter, Aneesha Summerville, said it was devastating to learn about the attack that happened at around 6:15 last Tuesday morning in the 5100 block of Newhall Street. Jones is a phlebotomist and was on her way to draw blood for patients at a nursing home.

The man was there and asked her mother, "Are you good?" as if checking if she was okay. Then as Jones looked up to respond, the man suddenly threw the chemical in her face and quickly ran off. Jones was immediately rushed to Temple University Hospital and has been recovering since.

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The attacker wore a face mask

Unfortunately, Jones could not recognize the attacker as he was wearing a face mask. Summerville said that it was "totally unexpected." However, her mother saw the man's eyes and would be able to recognize them if he would see him again. A neighbor said she heard a lot of screaming, and Jones was banging on her door trying to get inside.

Summerville adds that the man could possibly have burns on his hand from the chemicals. The chemical that was splashed in her face turned out to be chlorosulfuric acid, the Philadelphia Police Department said.

The acid burned her mother's lips and tongue. But the worst consequence of the attack was that she became blind in both eyes. Doctors could not say for certain if Jones would still regain her eyesight or not.

A random incident that cost Jones' vision

Speaking to WPVI, Inspector Michael McCarrick said it was a random incident. Police are still looking for the suspect and are hoping that they could uncover more evidence through surveillance camera footage in the area.

A fundraiser was organized to help Jones with her recovery. The family said they are not prepared for such a devastation. Medical bills, trauma therapy needs, appointments, daily prescriptions, and disability service needs are starting to pile up. The amount that will be raised from the GoFundMe will be used to cover her medical care and to make her home accessible.

Summerville said that it is hard to adjust to what the reality might be for them and their mother. One moment, she was very independent, and then the next moment she becomes totally dependent on people. Jones' she said was so traumatized by the attack. She hopes that one day someone would step forward to help the police catch the man who attacked her mother so "justice can be done for her."

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