Horrific Details About 11-Year-Old Girl Invited To Sleepover By Her Bully Who Poured Boiling Water On Her Face When She Fell Asleep

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Horrific Details About 11-Year-Old Girl Invited To Sleepover By Her Bully Who Poured Boiling Water On Her Face When She Fell Asleep

On August 7, 2017, Jamoneisha Merritt was doing what most 11-year-old girls like to do during summer vacation: having a sleepover with her friends. 

But her mother said one of the girls waited until Merritt fell asleep, boiled water, and filled a cup with it. The 12-year-old girl then woke the sleeping girl up by dumping the cup of boiling hot water on her face.

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She suffered burns to her face, chest, back, and shoulders that doctors said were so severe they wouldn't let her look in a mirror. 

Though one of Merritt's cousins said the girl, Aniya Grant Stuart, who was charged with felony assault, and Merritt were best friends, her mother said she was a victim of bullying. 

“I was told that they didn’t like her," Ebony Merritt said. "And they just been bullying her. They’ve been on Snapchat. It’s been going on several times. The girl admitted it. ‘I don’t like her. I wanted to do it.'”

According to Merritt, there had been other incidents of the girl bullying her daughter before she invited her to the sleepover.

“She’s very sad," Merritt said of her daughter at the time. "She’s emotionally messed up. She don’t understand why they did that to her. She thought they was her friends.” 

She also said the assault was a part of a trend called the "Hot Water Challenge."

On Facebook, Ebony posted that her daughter was in the ICU, and when her friends asked her what happened, she commented, "Her friends wanted to play the hot water challenge and that's what happened." 

Later she posted, "Attention: y'all parents need to be on y'all kids about not doing these stupid a-- challenges they see on Fb!! And some of y'all big a--es is old enough to f--king no better .....and no I'm not watching my month this news just got me tight......" 

Just one Google search, and you'll find that the challenge is to dump boiling hot water on an unsuspecting person and upload the video to YouTube.

In other instances, people have tried to drink boiling water through a straw, which is what killed 8-year-old Ki’ari Pope just a few weeks before the incident with Merritt. 

In March 2017, she was dared by her cousin to drink the boiling water and burned her mouth and throat. She received a tracheotomy that “caused her to have chronic respiratory problems” and rendered her “unable to talk.”

On July 31, 2017, she told her parents she couldn't breathe and fell unconscious. Paramedics tried to revive her, but she died after midnight. 

Another 10-year-old boy suffered severe burns in 2016 trying to replicate the challenge videos — where people dump hot water on themselves — with his cousin. Those are often deemed to be fake by YouTube commenters. 

Though it's not clear if Merritt's attack was bullying, a YouTube challenge or some horrible combination of both, her family had said that she had been tragically unaware of the damage that had been done. 

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“I think the only reason why she in good spirits is because she don’t actually see the damage done to her,” said her uncle, Eugene Dalmida, at the time. “They ain’t letting her see her face. I can’t bear to look at her... It gets me too upset.”

Loved ones described her as a kindhearted and caring little girl. 

"I could only be with her for a little bit because I can't hold myself together, I don't want her to see me cry or anything, so like when I was there, it was just talking," said her cousin, Yolanda Richardson. "We wasn't talking about the incident. We was talking about something different - try to take her mind off of that." 

Another cousin said the girl remained in good spirits. "She seemed to still have the same energy like nothing ain't change her," said Starshanae Nixon. "She's still smiling, joking. laughing, yeah she's doing good though." 

Thankfully, Merritt recovered and was able to return home.

After spending 11 days in the hospital, she was released back. She said at the time, "I'm so great. Now I'm dancing and listening to music."

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However, her mother explained that it was still going to take time for a full recovery. At the time, she said, "Her arm is still raw it hasn't healed yet... [and she] can't go outside in the sun. It's going to take maybe about six months for all her color to come back in."

Stuart's case was taken to Family Court, since was a minor and Stuart had reportedly tried to commit suicide after the incident. 

When Merritt spoke out on what happened, she revealed that the other girls had warned her that she would be pranked before she fell asleep. Merritt's mother wanted the three girls involved plus Stuart's mother arrested.

She said, "The mother is just as involved as the other kids. This happened at 4 AM but they didn't come to my house until 5:30. That means she was there for an hour and a half while they were trying to cover their tracks."

The lawyer for the family, Paul Prestia, was confident that charges would be filed against "anyone responsible for harming Jamoni that night."

He said, "She needs some semblance of justice for those scars. Her spirit and courage should really be an inspiration to so many young people — especially those who've been the victims of bullying."

In November 2017, the New York City Fire Department made Merritt an honorary firefighter. Her mother said that the FDNY had been offering her daughter support throughout her recovery. “She is joyful [and] she is full of spirit. This has played a big part in her recovery. People all over the world are reaching out to her.”

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Emily Blackwood is a freelance writer, editor and journalist who covers small business, pop culture, travel, health and wellness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on August 10, 2017 and was updated with the latest information.