Acid Attack Victim Derri Dias Velarde Appears on CBS’ “Early Show”

Or should I say, acid attack survivor.

CBS has released the video of the interview at this writing, but I am unable to post it using Vodpod. You can find it here.

I was very glad to see this woman, as there had been teasers last night on CBS that this “progress report” interview was coming up this morning, but the interviewer, Erica Hill, nearly killed it for me.  It was how she said it.  Hill’s astonishment at how good Dias Velarde looked five months after the “copycat” acid attack in Mesa, AZ made me want to slap her. Or at least, bang at the TV.

Sure, Dias Velarde did look well, but Hill seemed to be saying, “Well, that little thing didn’t do that much damage to you. Please. As if a sulfuric acid attack doesn’t leave scars or alter lives. Look, that wasn’t some harsh chemical peel. That stuff really hurts.

I guess when people of color are cut, they don’t bleed, right?

I just want you to flashback below as to what occurred last year with this HLN interview with Jane Velez Mitchell.

And now?

The incident is still under investigation. Police are baffled as to who committed the crime.

Det. Michael Melendez, of the Mesa Police Department, said, “Right now what’s holding us back is that there is no match in the database for the fingerprints that we’ve lifted from the evidence.”

On “The Early Show” Monday, co-anchor Erica Hill spoke said Velarde “Looks incredible,” five months since the attack.

Hill said, “You were showing me a little bit of your skin, like by your neck. And even though it’s been five months, I would have thought it would have been a little bit more raw and open. It seems to be healing beautifully.”

Velarde said the physical healing has been the easiest part of her recovery.  There are scars left from her ordeal, she said, that run deeper.

“(The) psychological part, that’s been hard,” Velarde said. “Just to, still that fear, not knowing who did it. You know — being kind of a little bit afraid to go home. All that kind of stuff. It’s been hard. It’s been hard on the kids.”

Velarde said she gets concerned when she’s alone.

“I get a little bit leery when I’m, specifically if I’m alone, by myself in the car, if I’m waiting for someone or, you know, I’m just kind of a little bit more aware of who’s around me,” she said. “I’m always looking around. Sometimes we get a little startled, someone comes up to get in their car next to me. You know, little things like that.”

Hill pointed out that police actually found the cup used in the attack — some sulfuric acid still inside — in a trash can. However, they cannot identify the fingerprints found on the cup from their database.

Which may mean that the perp may simply be a woman who is someone’s neighbor or friend who’s never been in trouble at all. A very kooky and unstable neighbor and friend who thought she could play games.

In another interview in September, conducted in Massachusetts just days after the attack, Dias Velarde spoke at length about who might be responsible and her continued recovery.

Velarde says a burn psychologist told her that her resiliency and attitude are also helping her get through the ordeal. She remains in Massachusetts to stay “safe” with her attacker on the loose.

“I’m thankful for receiving the outpouring from my family and friends and from where I work,” said Velarde. “It’s helped me a lot because this has been a horrible thing to go through.

“It’s been difficult to understand why this has happened. I can’t imagine anything I’ve done to warrant this.”

Velarde’s attacker is described as a 30- to 40-year-old Hispanic woman with black shoulder-length hair, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 140 pounds and wearing a black tank top and black sweat pants with a white stripe. Police say they have not identified any suspects, but believe the attack was not a random act.“I don’t know who she was or why she was there,” Velarde said. “I don’t know if police have any strong leads, but they said they believe it was someone connected to someone I once dated or loved. Whether she was an ex-girlfriend of someone, and wanted to make sure another man didn’t want me, I don’t know.”

Velarde is going through a divorce and recently went to work after being a stay-at-home mother all through her 21-year marriage. She works part time in the daycare area of a fitness center and as a waitress at a restaurant.

Velarde confirmed she had received some text messages a few days before the attack, and described them as “intimidating,” but nothing she would consider physically threatening that would put her in imminent danger. She would not say who the text messages were from.

Velarde said she separated from her husband in November and re-entered the dating scene in April, and has a boyfriend she has dated for the last three months.

Hope they are still together after all this time. But her mentioning those threatening text messages, hmmmmmmm. Call me suspicious, but there’s a larger story here somewhere. I am convinced that this attack was not a fake, but until that female attacker is finally found, we won’t know the whole story.

Dias Velarde chronicled part of her recovery on a video diary, which was excerpted in the CBS interview.  She wore large, heavy, but stylish hats against the sun’s rays. Two of her five children are shown salving her wounds and bandaging her daily. They as well as their mother deserve a lot of credit for her convalescence and relatively positive spirits.


Since the attack, Velarde said, her life has changed considerably.

“It’s been kind of difficult,” she said. “I still haven’t gotten back to work. And I’ve been staying out in L.A. for a little while, just recovering, and it’s kind of been hard being away from family and friends and stuff. But I think I need to do that right now, for me.”

Velarde said she also plans to get counseling.

She said, “I kind of didn’t think I needed it. But now, yeah, reflecting back on some things, I think it would be a good thing.”

Get help when it’s right for you.

Derri Velarde is on Facebook. Wish her well.

~ by blksista on January 31, 2011.

6 Responses to “Acid Attack Victim Derri Dias Velarde Appears on CBS’ “Early Show””

  1. I wanted to thank you blksista for your article. I believe bringing awareness to my story is truly the only way this woman might be caught. I’m hoping someone will come forward and turn her in. Someone out there knows something and I pray they talk. I pray someone some where will have a heart and come forward, or possibly just slip up. I can assure you that this was NOT a hoax, the police know that, they have more than enough evidence to support that, I don’t feel the need to defend myself, they know, I know and that’s good enough for me. I truly do want to thank you though for bringing some attention to this.


    • Wrong is wrong, Derri. I sincerely hope that they find her as well, and that you continue to find healing and peace with your family and friends.

      Take good care.


  2. The police typically “automatically” believe the victim, just like Grace and Mitchell. Ever heard of the Duke Lacrosse case that was ultimately dismissed after the uninformed convicted the entire team?


    • From the tone of your comments, it seems like you are looking for a fight rather than honestly discussing the issues raised here. The police have already made a conjecture about the attacker being jealous of Dias Velarde. I’ve already said that there is something else to this story that Dias Velarde may not be able to tell the public, although the cops are assured that this incident was not a hoax.

      And you have not answered a vital question that proves what Grace and Velez-Mitchell are supposed to be doing having their shows on Headline News.

      Please don’t come back.


  3. It has been confirmed that shows like Valez-Mitchell and Nancy Grace inspire some victims to harm themselves and these shows still refuse to stand up for the victims of crimes, they just pay out $200,000.00 to their families when victims die. That, imo, is a crime. These shows should instead be about truth and assisting in obtaining Justice, which these shows clearly don’t. Why CNN only hires drunks and drug users is beyond all reasonable explanation. I suspect that if Jane and Nancy were incarcerated for their crimes, the overall crime rate in the USA would drop tremendously.


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