Suspect Sketch Released in Mesa Acid Attack; Cops Still Looking for Female Attacker

Police on Tuesday released a sketch of the woman suspected of throwing acid on another woman in Mesa last week.

​Mesa police released a sketch of the woman suspected of throwing acid on another woman last week. The attack left the victim with burns on her face and chest, and came a couple of days after an acid attack in Vancouver.

The Mesa victim, Derri Velarde, told CBS News last week that after she pulled up in the driveway of her home near Val Vista Drive and Southern Avenue, the suspect walked up with what looked like a glass of water and threw the liquid in her face.

"It just instantly was like fire. It started burning intensely, instantly," she told CBS News from her hospital bed.

Velarde was left with severe burns on her face and neck, and along her arms.

The incident ... was eerily similar to one that occurred Monday in Vancouver, Washington, in which 28-year-old Bethany Storro was also attacked as she left her car. Again it was a female stranger throwing acid.

Acid attacks have been a violent trend in Asia and other parts of the world, and not unknown in the United States. Americans are far more likely to attack with firearms -- to much more deadly effect -- than beakers full of acid.

Yet it would be wrong to think of acid as the kinder, gentler weapon of choice. Acid symbolizes the unbridled hate of the attacker, and a desire to hurt the victim in a way that's both vicious and intensely personal. Our vengeful side wants to see acid attackers sent to prison for so long that their faces change even more radically than those of their victims.

If you know the identity of the person in the sketch, Mesa police would like you to call them.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.