Girl Suffers Second Degree Burns After Friend Pours Boiling Water On Her Face At Sleepover

Jamoneisha Merritt's mother believes her daughter was the victim of the problematic "hot water challenge."

A candlelight vigil will take place Friday (Aug. 11) for Jamoneisha Merritt who was soaked with boiling hot water during a sleepover with friends.

The Washington Post reports the 11-year-old was with friends in the Bronx when the incident happened Sunday evening (Aug. 6). Merritt's cousins tell reporters she got into an argument with her older friend before going to bed. “[The other girl] told her if she goes to sleep they were going to do something to her,” Yolanda Richardson said. Merritt awoke to her skin burning and blisters over her face and shoulders after a pot of boiling water was thrown on her face. Her mother Ebony Merritt took her to Harlem Hospital's Burn Unit where she was treated for second degree burns.

Ebony tells reporters she believes her daughter wasn't just the victim of a prank, but the troubling "hot water challenge" that recently claimed the life of a child from Florida. The online fad features teens either drinking or voluntarily jumping into hot water.

“She don’t understand why they did that to her. She thought they was her friends,” Merritt said. “I was told that they didn’t like her. And they just been bullying her.”

The 12-year-old who committed the act was arrested and charged with second-degree assault. Ebony says Jamoneisha is in good spirits but was unsure of letting her child see her reflection until the wounds began to heal. "She saw her face; she’s OK with it. But she’s still traumatized,” she told The Daily News. 

As Jamoneisha continues to recover in the hospital, family members are having trouble dealing with the situation. The Daily News reports the suspect, her mother Shernett Panton and older sister received threats from the victims mother and other family members.  “Now I’m getting text messages from her nieces or maybe her cousins,” Shawna, 14,  said. “It makes me feel scared.”

Merritt allegedly attacked Shawna on Monday (Aug. 7) by punching her in the face. Panton says her daughter has taken responsibility for the incident, but didn't intent to harm her friend. “They always prank each other,” Panton said. “My daughter was sleeping and Jamoni poured cold water on her. My daughter was like, ‘OK, if you’re gonna do a prank on me, I’m gonna prank you back.’"

Panton's daughter remained on suicide watch at  Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center after trying harm herself with a knife. “What she did was really wrong, but it’s too much right now,” Panton said. “My daughter is 12. Everybody makes mistakes.”

Jamoneisha's family has created a GoFundMe for her hospital bills and counseling sessions. So far, the family has raised just over $6,000.

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Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 Fox Network Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 14, 2018 in New York City.
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Men Arrested In Jussie Smollett Attack Released From Custody Without Charge

The two men arrested and questioned by Chicago Police are no longer considered persons of interest in the Jussie Smollett attack. Olabijo and Abimbola Osundairo were released without charge “due to new evidence” in the case, police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmo said Friday (Feb. 15).

“The individuals questioned by police in the 'Empire' case have now been released without charging,” Guglielmo tweeted.

Authorities initially arrested the Osundairo brothers on battery charges. Guglielmo also added that  “investigators have additional work to complete.”

Case Update: Due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete. pic.twitter.com/Hswn1Qjgcy

— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 16, 2019

Gloria Schmidt, an attorney for the brothers, told reporters that there are still a lot of “moving parts” in the case. “My guys are innocent of the charge and they're going home,” she said.

Smollett told authorities that he was attacked by two masked men who shouted racist and homophobic epithets before punching him, tying a nose around his neck and pouring bleach on him. He recounted the attack in an interview with Good Morning America Thursday (Feb. 14), telling anchor Robin Roberts that he fought back before the attackers fled.

Authorities raided the brothers home earlier in the week removing several items including bleach and rope.

Schmidt previously confirmed that the brothers worked with Smollett on Empire, and didn’t understand how they became “people of interest” in the case.

 

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Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Confidential Settlement With NFL In Collusion Case

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have reached a confidential settlement with the league Friday (Feb. 15). The agreement brings an end to their collusion lawsuit against the NFL more than a year after the legal bout began.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Kaepernick and Reid would only agreed to settle for a “lucrative financial agreement.” No other details about the terms of the settlement were released.

Kaepernick and Reid filed sued the NFL for collusion in October 2017. The league denied the allegations, but failed in their attempt to have the suit dismissed.

Attorneys Mark Geragos and Ben Meiselas said in a statement that Kaepernick and Reid have engaged in an “ongoing dialogue” with the NFL for the past “several months.”

“As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances,” the statement explains. “The resolution of this matter is subject to confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.”

The NFL Players Association released a statement of support. “We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support the decision by the players and their counsel,” the statement reads.

“We continuously supported Colin and Eric from the start of their protests, participated with their lawyers throughout their legal proceedings and were prepared to participate in the upcoming trial in pursuit of both truth and justice for what we believe the NFL and its clubs did to them. We are glad that Eric has earned a job and a new contract, and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well.”

Jerry Jones, Bob McNair, Robert Craft and several other NFL owners and players were deposed in the case. Reid was recently signed to the Carolina Panthers. Kaepernick remains unsigned.

pic.twitter.com/5sdcGSuwvW

— Mark Geragos (@markgeragos) February 15, 2019

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Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 Fox Network Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 14, 2018 in New York City.
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Potential Suspects Arrested In Connection To Jussie Smollett Attack

A new development has been made in the investigation surrounding the Jan. 29 attack on Empire actor, Jussie Smollett. The Chicago Police have arrested two "potential suspects" by the names of Olabinjo and Abimola Osundairo. The Nigerian brothers are United States citizens, one of which has been an extra on Fox's Empire.

"Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in alleged crime and we are working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues," the police said in a statement to ABC News.

Evidence was found in the Osundairo brothers' Chicago apartment when the cops raided their home on Thursday (Feb. 14). Among the list of evidence found in their home were bottles of bleach, which was mentioned in Smollett's report. The two potential suspects were detained at Chicago O'Hare Airport Wednesday evening (Feb. 13) following a flight from Nigeria and their attorney Gloria Schmidt, has since spoken out to clear their names.

"When they first learned what happened to him, they were horrified. This is someone they know, someone that they work with, so they don't want to see somebody go through that," Schmidt said in a statement to the Chicago CBS station WBBM. "They really don't understand how [police] even got information that linked them to this horrific crime, but they're not guilty of it."

Smollett has had to deal with rumors surrounding the fact that his attack may have been "staged" or a "hoax" by the actor himself. The 36-year-old actor appeared on Good Morning America to clear up the hearsay.

"I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate," Smollet said to Robin Roberts. "And it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more. A lot more, and that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now."

The Chicago Police also released a statement of their own on Thursday evening (Feb. 14).

"While we haven't found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is also no evidence to say that this is a hoax," Chicago police said to ABC News. "The alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect."

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