A brutal attack dislocated the teeth and fractured the jaw of a 19-year-old Temple University student, but the terrifying incident won't stop her from finishing her courses this semester.
“I’m definitely going to go back to class,” said the victim, who asked not to be identified. “I don’t want this to stop me from finishing classes.”
Her father, however, is unsure if his daughter should return to Temple.
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“I’m afraid for her to go back there,” he said. “But I’m going to leave that up to her.”
He added that he is prepared to offer a $500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
The student was walking with her boyfriend near the intersection of 16th and Norris streets around 6 p.m. Friday when a group of about a dozen kids ranging in age from 8 to 14-years-old began taunting them, she said.
“I’m walking by and one of the people from the group screamed at me, really loud and really close to my face,” she said. “I kept walking because I don’t want to engage them. Then they start pulling at my hair and earrings.”
Her boyfriend, a 20-year-old Temple student, asked them to back off, but the group refused to relent.
“They wouldn’t stop touching me,” the victim said. She says one of the girls in the group then struck her in the face.
“My boyfriend pushed the girl away from me that hit me in the face and then the girl’s sister came at me with a brick,” described the victim, who added she knows the pair of attackers are siblings because they said so during the assault.
She says the assailant smashed her with the brick twice, once across her face followed by a second blow to the side of her head.
“I tried to get away as fast as I could,” she said. “My teeth were halfway out of my mouth. I wasn’t thinking about anything besides getting to safety.”
She was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital, where doctors performed surgery to save and align her teeth.
“All of her teeth were pushed into the back of her mouth,” her father said. “Her five top, front teeth were bent all the way back from the gum.”
The 19-year-old student, who is recovering at her family’s home Sunday, can only consume liquids during her recovery.
“My doctor says I shouldn’t put any pressure on my teeth for awhile,” she said. “So I’ve been eating my food through a straw.”
But the victim says she can put aside the pain to make sure the attackers don’t do the same thing to someone else.
“I don’t want them to get away with this,” she said. “This is my number one priority right now after classes – figure out who did this and put them away.”
Police are investigating the incident, which occurred while it was still light out and only a block from Temple’s athletic fields.
Temple University will cooperate with the Philadelphia Police Department to aid in the investigation of the incident, which happened outside of the Temple police force’s patrol area, according to a school spokesman.
School officials are communicating with the victim and her professors to ensure the necessary adjustments are made for her to meet her academic requirements while she heals, the spokesman added.
While the victim continues to recover, both she and her father ask for the public’s help.
“If anybody saw anything, just please report it,” her father said.