Long Island police search for suspect in acid attack on college student
© Getty Images

Long Island police are searching for a man suspected of throwing acid in the face of a 21-year-old university student outside her home last month. 

Nafiah Ikram, who was left severely burned and nearly blind from the attack, told local CBS affiliate WCBS-TV that she is now speaking out about the March 17 incident, when she said her “whole life changed in a matter of five minutes.” 

The Hofstra University student said she arrived back at her Long Island home from work when an unknown man ran up to her and threw a cup of liquid in her face. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“I started to cry and, like, I was panicking. I was like, ‘Dad, someone threw something in my face!’ And he was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s acid,'” Ikram recounted. 

According to a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of Ikram, the acid caused severe burning to her eyes, chest and arms, and also melted her contact lenses onto her eyes. 

The suspect is difficult to see in graphic security footage from the attack, and Ikram told WCBS-TV that she did not recognize the attacker. 

Ikram’s parents, who are of Pakistani descent, said they did not believe the attack was a hate crime, but her father believes it was targeted. 

“This was pre-planned. They know her, what time she’s going to work, what time she’s coming,” Sheikh Ikram told local CW affiliate WPIX

Ikram’s father said she was in the hospital for three weeks following the attack, adding that she is still not able to eat properly and she can only see out of one eye. 

The Nassau County Police Department told CNN that they are searching for a man roughly 6'2" tall, with a skinny build. 

Police in a tweet last month said they believe the suspect left the scene in a red Nissan Altima, urging anyone with relevant information to call the Crime Stoppers hotline. 

According to WPIX, Ikram’s father is a longtime personal driver for “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi, who posted a video on Instagram Wednesday, urging people to donate to the GoFundMe page to help the family pay for medical expenses. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“This is every parent’s worst nightmare. Nafiah’s medical costs will be astronomical,” Lakshmi wrote in the post. 

The page had already raised more than $431,000 by Friday morning. 

Ikram’s father told WPIX that the family was overwhelmingly grateful for the support. 

“I don’t know how to thank them. They’re wonderful,” he explained.