NEW YORK - The Nassau County Police Department has announced the reward in connection with the acid attack on a Hofstra student has been increased to $50,000.
Nafiah Ikram had just parked a car outside her family's home on Arlington Avenue in Elmont at about 8:30 p.m. on March 17, 2021, and was walking up the driveway when someone threw a corrosive liquid at her.
Ikram suffered burns on her face, neck, and hands, and was left without vision in one eye.
"I'm still suffering to this day," Ikram said.
"We believe that the suspect is from the community. It could be from the Muslim side of the community. It could be from any other part of the community of Elmont," Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a press briefing in Mineola on Wednesday.
"No one should ever have to experience this," Ikram said at the briefing. "I've had 8 surgeries so far, and I don't know how many more I'm going to have."
Ikram's story has touched so many people, including neighbors who created a GoFundMe campaign to help her. It raised more than $500,000.
Celebrity Padma Lakshmi, a friend of the family, also posted a video on Instagram in a show of support.
Ikram and her parents don't believe the attack was a hate crime. They believe it was personal and not based on religion, though they can't figure out a motive.
The police have stepped up efforts to track down the attacker and anyone who may have helped him. Nassau County Crime Stoppers increased its usual reward to $50,000 for any tips that lead to the capture of anyone responsible.
Nassau County Police say the attacker drove off in a red Nissan Altima.
The attacker was described as a man, about 6'2" with a skinny build and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and gloves. Police released images from security cameras showing a red Nissan Altima with New York plates and fog lights, likely from model years 2013 to 2015 that drove away from the scene.
A Hofstra spokesperson, Neena Samuel, issued a statement on behalf of the university after the attack.
"We're shocked by this horrific attack, and our thoughts are with Nafiah, her family, and friends as she focuses on her recovery," Samuel said in the statement. "We are committed to supporting her through that process and will cooperate and facilitate that in whatever ways are helpful."
As for a message for the attacker, Ikram said, "To the person that did this, I know that you are going to get your karma one day."