Freezing Rain Advisory issued November 21 at 3:45AM EST expiring November 22 at 7:00AM EST in effect for: Benton, Jasper, Newton
A 19-year-old woman was recovering from severe burns on Sunday after police said her boyfriend's mother threw acid in her face during an argument.Officers were called to the 4400 block of Fairhope Drive, near Interstate 65 and Southport Road, Friday afternoon on a report of a fight between two women.Joseph Miller told police that he and his girlfriend, Jessica Burns, 19, had just returned from a doctor's visit when his mother -- Angela Paterson, 40 -- demanded half of Burns' pain medication as payment for her living in Paterson's home.Miller told police Paterson then started to yell and chase Burns around the house before grabbing a bottle of gold testing acid and splashing it in Burns' face."The bottle of hydrochloric acid, 14k gold tester, was sitting on top of the fridge, she grabbed it," Miller said. "She just went up over the top with the bottle of acid over me and my shoulder and just squirted it and I guess it just hit perfect."According to the police report, Burns had severe burns and blisters on her face and was screaming that her face was still burning and that she couldn't open her eyes.Burns was transported to St. Francis South Hospital."We don't know at this time, but it could have damaged her eyes," said Lt. Jeff Duhamell.When questioned, police said Paterson told them that Burns attacked her first, and denied throwing anything in her face, saying Burns must have accidentally splashed herself with the acidic solution.An EMT told officers that he overheard Paterson tell Miller that "they will never find the empty bottle." Police said they were unable to find a container for the acid.Paterson was arrested and preliminarily charged with aggravated battery and criminal recklessness.Miller told police that his mother is addicted to prescription medication and illegal drugs."My mom is sick and needs help," he said. "She just got out of prison, and 60 days wasn't enough, so I'd like to see her get at least three or four years out of it just to get her head right."Miller and Burns' 1-year-old daughter was in the home at the time and witnessed the attack, police said. She was not injured.