A Philadelphia woman remains in critical condition after someone set her on fire in a brutal assault.
Police responded to reports of rubbish fire on an East Tioga Street in the Kensington section of Philadelphia around 12:36 a.m. on Friday and found a 36-year-old woman who had been set on fire, according to a statement from Philadelphia police to Oxygen.com.
Per WPVI-TV, the victim was identified as Alyssa Morales, who had suffered severe burns on more than 60 percent of her body.
Medical staff placed Morales in a medically-induced coma after she arrived at Temple University Hospital, according to WPVI-TV, and she was listed as a Jane Doe for the next two days.
Danielle Knapp, a family friend, created a GoFundMe page in which she says Morales was in so much pain that she could not identify herself at the hospital.
Witnesses say the attack happened shortly after Morales, who is reportedly homeless, was seen arguing with a man and woman, according to CBS Philadelphia.
“She sees the female that’s with them spray some kind of liquid towards the male and the female, and that liquid is then set on fire,” said Philadelphia Police Department Chief Inspector Frank Vanore said of one witness.
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Vanore told WPVI-TV that the male had also been set on fire but ran from the scene.
Several local media outlets report that a video exists showing the aftermath of the assault.
The victim’s mother, Lee Ann Morales, only learned of her daughter’s assault via social media. She said she watched the first few minutes of the video, which she found on the internet, but couldn’t stomach watching the rest, according to CBS Philadelphia.
“She’s going to live, but she’ll have permanent damage,” said Alyssa Morales' mother. “She’s going to have to have a new face. I’m saying it, she’ll never have the face she was born with, and they said that’s the hard part: When she can look in the mirror and see a different face looking back at her.”
According to the GoFundMe page, Alyssa Morales has spent the past 14 years battling substance abuse but had not yet been “able to conquer her demons,” Danielle Knapp wrote.
“No matter what people may think of those who battle addiction, no human being should ever have to endure what Alyssa has endured,” Knapp stated. “No one should have to deal with the struggles that lie ahead for her."
Lee Ann Morales told WPIV-TV that her daughter had struggled with heroin use, an investigative avenue that police are investigating.
“At night, around midnight, there are individuals that are involved in the drug trade, selling drugs, using drugs,” said Philadelphia Chief Inspector Scott Small. “There’s a lot of prostitution in the area, so we’re talking to some of the individuals that frequent the area."
Alyssa Morales will have to undergo multiple skin grafts and spend the next three months in the hospital, according to the GoFundMe page. She will eventually be moved to a rehabilitation facility for further treatment.
“I’m sad, I’m broken, I’m angry. So angry,” Lee Ann Morales told CBS Philadelphia. “I just want to know who did this. Don’t you want to know who did this? Wouldn’t everybody want to know who did this? Who could possibly do it?”
Police told Oxygen.com that officials with the East Detective Division are still searching for the person or persons responsible for the attack. Anyone with information is urged to contact the police at 1-215-686-TIPS.