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Police: Man Throws Caustic Liquid In Woman's Face In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A woman suffered severe burns after a man splashed an unknown substance in her face in Queens, police said.

As CBS2's Steve Langford reported, police said the woman was exiting her workplace at 33rd Street and 43rd Avenue in Long Island City shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday and was getting into her car.

The attacker called out to the woman and tossed a cupful of caustic liquid at her as she turned around, police said. He then fled.

Police: Man Throws Caustic Liquid In Woman's Face In Queens

Sources told CBS2 the victim of the attack is Alexandra Dyer, 59, the executive director of the Healing Arts Initiative. The group works with those facing social, mental or physical challenges.

As CBS2's Jessica Schneider reported, Dyer was spending her second night at Weill-Cornell Medical Center on Thursday.

Dyer said she did not know the attacker who left her with chemical burns to the face and eyes.

Officials at the city's Department of Environmental Protection determined that the substance was similar to Drain-O with a high pH level.

Dyer told police she got in her car and tried to get away, but the burning was so bad she only made it 200 ft.

Someone passing by called 911.

"I asked somebody what's happening," said a witness, Felix Alvarez. "They said somebody threw a chemical or something into the face of a lady."

Detectives were on the case all day long Thursday -- both on the street where Dyer was attacked, and inside the building where she worked. Sources told CBS2 the man threw a Drano-like substance right on the woman's face.

Alexandra Dyer
Police say Alexandra Dyer was splashed in the face with caustic liquid in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (Credit: CBS2)

"Very bad," said Dyer's boyfriend, Nelson Padilla. "She cannot open the eyes."

Padilla had just gotten back from spending the night and day at Dyer's hospital bedside when he spoke to CBS2.

"She cannot open the mouth that much," he said. "The tongue -- it's purple."

The victim told police she did not know her assailant. Co-workers, in a state of shock, were unwilling to discuss the attack publicly.

But others who work in the area were alarmed.

"That is some sick stuff, but that almost sounds like maybe targeted," said Robert Civitano.

"After 4:30 this place just clears out, we make it a point to walk together to the subway if we can," said a woman named Melanie. "I've heard about muggings in this neighborhood, but nothing this intense and vicious."

"It's a sick world we live in, unfortunately, and people without rhyme or reason do things of that nature," said Louis Perone.

The victim's boyfriend said the recovery may prove daunting.

"She say maybe in two or three weeks. She don't do good," Padilla said. "Maybe she have to operate the eyes and the face."

Dyer was taken to New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center with third-degree burns to her face and hands. She was listed in stable condition.

The attacker was described as a black male in his mid-30s, with a medium build, wearing dark shorts and a dark T-shirt.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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