PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police are searching for the person who set a woman on fire during a horrific attack in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood. Police said it was 11:30 p.m. last Thursday when a woman had been brutalized and set on fire. Philadelphia police have launched an aggravated assault case.
There is video of the aftermath of the attack on 36-year-old Alyssa Morales. CBS3 decided not to show the video since it is too graphic.
The victim's mother, Leah Ann Morales, met with CBS3 outside Temple University Hospital.
"I watched the first three seconds when I knew it was her and I couldn't watch anymore," Leah Ann Morales said. "You know it's your daughter, and you know she's burned, and then you're just like, 'she needs help, can somebody help her?' And I found out on the Internet."
Her daughter Alyssa remains in the burn unit. In an exclusive interview, Leah Ann Morales said she learned of the vicious attack on social media. Someone set her daughter on fire in a park in the Kensington section of the city late Thursday night.
"She's going to live, but she'll have permanent damage," Leah Ann Morales said. "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."
Alyssa Morales, a college graduate, went to Pennsbury High School in Bucks County. She has a daughter but, Leah Ann said, years ago Alyssa, who is homeless, fell on hard times and has struggled.
"She never hurt anybody, just herself. She's just an addict, misguided. She went to college and she just fell into that hole, and can't climb out," Morales said.
Police are reviewing surveillance video and trying to track down eyewitnesses who hold critical information on who did this to Alyssa Morales.
"I'm sad, I'm broken, I'm angry so angry," Leah Ann Morales said. "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? Do you want them to do it again? They go home and laugh, 'Oh, I got away with this?’"
Alyssa Morales may be in the hospital for the rest of the summer. She will need facial reconstructive surgery. Her mom said she'll also have to go to rehab to re-learn how to do basic things.
If you have information on this gruesome attack, call police at 215-686-TIPS.
There is an online fundraiser being organized in her name by her family.
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