Family of acid attack victim, Sewanhaka graduate, criticizes police’s handling of investigation

Family of acid attack victim, Sewanhaka graduate, criticizes police’s handling of investigation
The family of a 22-year-old Elmont woman who was the victim of an acid attack last year criticized the police's handling of the investigation. (Photos courtesy of Ikram's GoFundMe page)

The family of a 22-year-old Elmont woman who was the victim of an acid attack criticized police for their handling of the investigation, which officials said, remains ongoing one year later.

Nafiah Ikram, a Hofstra University pre-med student and Sewanhaka graduate, and her mother parked their car outside their Arlington Avenue home on the night of March 17, 2021.

The two were about to walk inside when an unknown man ran up to her and threw acid on her face. Footage of the incident was caught on a neighboring house camera.

The acid caused Ikram to scream, which resulted in the liquid spreading to her mouth, according to a GoFundMe page to help fund the various medical procedures needed.

Her tongue and throat were burned as a result of the attack, along with burns and scars on her face, according to the page.

Ikram ran into the house, where her parents attempted to help her, but the acid burned her parents’ arms and hands as well, the page said.

The acid caused “severe burning” on Ikram’s eyes, chest and arms, according to the post. She was also wearing contact lenses, which were melted to her eyes as a result of the acid.

Officials from the Nassau County Police Department said the male attacker was approximately 6-foot-2 and wore a black hooded sweatshirt and gloves.

He fled in a red 2013-2015 Nissan Altima, according to police. Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said in April that there was not enough evidence to determine if the attack was a hate crime.

One year following the incident, Ikram was joined by her parents and Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages (D-Lawrence) on Thursday in her backyard to hold a press conference calling on law enforcement to increase their efforts to find the attacker. 

“They didn’t take it seriously and even up until now,” Ikram told Newsday regarding the police’s efforts.

Ikram’s mother, Sherina Mohamed, said she felt “like maybe the detectives..didn’t take [the case] seriously.” Ikram’s father, Sheikh Ikram, shared a similar sentiment.

“They really took this case very slow and did not really make us feel they were really doing anything,” he said.

Ryder released a statement on Thursday saying the department will “continue an intense and comprehensive investigation” into the attack against Ikram.

“Numerous interagency resources have been assigned and continue to collaborate to bring the person responsible to justice,” Ryder continued. “Nassau County Crime Stoppers and the FBI have both equally increased their reward to a total of $40,000 for tips that could lead to an arrest of the person(s) responsible.”

Nearly $550,000 has been raised for Ikram through the GoFundMe page as of Friday. Ikram said she has been asked what her message would be to anyone hearing her story and she provided it to the public on Thursday.

“Believe in yourself, don’t ever give up and most importantly, learn to find beauty within yourself and love yourself no matter what because that was the… hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Ikram said.

“I am asking for the perpetrator who committed this heinous act to turn yourself in,” Solages said. “I truly believe that what is done in the darkness will come to light. You have put a tremendous amount of pain in the lives of this family, and I am asking anybody who knows anything about this to do the right thing and help us achieve justice for Nafiah and her family.”

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