Posted: 4:18 p.m. Friday, July 26, 2013

Criminal case opened against man accused of throwing acid in woman's face

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acid attack photo
Christy Sims, 43, a divorced mother with a beaming smile, was pursuing a dream career as a substance abuse counselor. Then in a split second, her life was torn apart.
acid attack photo
The chemical was "Clean Shot," a drain cleaner which is a caustic sulfuric acid. It splashed over her face, chest and arms.
acid attack photo
When paramedics finally got to Sims, the stripped her clothes off and hosed her down. But, by then the damage was done.

By Tom Regan

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. —

A local woman woke up from two-months-long induced coma with a horrifying story. She told Channel 2 Action News someone threw sulfuric acid in her face leaving her with disfiguring injuries and a mountain of medical bills.

Henry County police said they have a lot of unanswered questions about this tragedy that has devastated a mother, her family and relatives.

The family is planning a fundraising campaign to raise tens of thousands of dollars to pay for facial surgery. They also want to know what really happened and why.

Christy Sims, 43, a divorced mother with a beaming smile, was pursuing a dream career as a substance abuse counselor. Then in a split second, her life was torn apart.

"My entire face has been destroyed. My body is destroyed. I'm burned over 20 percent of my body," Sims told Channel 2's Tom Regan.

Extreme chemical burns have left her face severely scarred.

It happened in her home last April. Sims said her then-boyfriend asked her to bring a towel to the bathroom. She said she saw water on the floor and the man holding a small bowl with a strange liquid. She feared something was about to happen.

"He didn't actually fall, he just jerked forward and took the bowl and doused it in my face," Sims said.

The chemical was "Clean Shot," a drain cleaner which is a caustic sulfuric acid. It splashed over her face, chest and arms.

"I ran immediately to the sink and started rinsing my face off and I yelled to him, 'Please call 911, please call 911," Sims said.

In the 911 call you can hear the 911 operator answer and the man ask for an ambulance.

The boyfriend told the operator Christy had been accidentally splashed with drain cleaner.

"We were just putting it in the toilet and we slipped," the man told the 911 operator. You can then hear him speaking to Sims in the background, "Sit down, baby, sit down," he said.

The dispatcher and a poison control operator repeatedly told the boyfriend to wash the chemical off with soap and water. You can hear the agonizing scream of Sims in the background of the 911 recordings.

"Did it get in her eyes as well?" the 911 operator asked.

"Is it in your eyes?" the man asks of Sims.

"Yes," Sims responded.

"It sounds like she needs to get in the shower," the operator instructed.

"These chemicals don't take very long once they are in contact with the skin to start causing trouble," Gaylord Lopez managing director of the Georgia Poison Center told Regan about sulfuric acid and Clean Shot drain cleaner.

"It's critical to get the poisons off the skin and out of the eyes. Out of the mouth," Lopez continued.

"This is Henry County 911 - is she in the shower?" the 911 operator asked during the call.

"No," the man replied.

"Where is she now?" asked the 911 operator.

"She is on the floor," he replied.

"I found out later, 911 poison control told him to rinse me off and I kept telling him please, my skin," Sims told Regan. "He said, they said to sit down and wait for the ambulance because if you rinse yourself off, you're going to ignite the chemical," said Sims.

When paramedics finally got to Sims, the stripped her clothes off and hosed her down. But, by then the damage was done.

In the traumatic moments afterwards she said her boyfriend had told her that it was an accident. She now believes it was an intentional acid attack, because he knew she was about to leave him.

"He made it to look like an accident. But you think about it, why would you put drain cleaner in a bowl? Why would there be so much water on the floor, when there was no water in the tub unless you put it there. I don't think he was trying to kill me, I think he was trying to make me unattractive because he doused it right in my face," Sims said.

Henry County police recently gathered potential evidence from the home in a criminal investigation.

"It's a very tragic event. We don't want to accuse someone unless the evidence is there. But if the evidence is there, you have to go forward," Sgt. Joey Smith of the Henry County Police Department told Regan.

Christy's mom also wants the truth.

"I just hate that my child, Christy, has had to suffer so. She does not deserve this," said Elaine Turner, Sim's mother.

"I have kids. I have a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old. They need me. There is no way I'm laying down. There is no way, I'm fighting," Sims said.

A magistrate judge denied an arrest warrant request and said there was insufficient evidence to prove intent.
However, the police investigation remains open. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Henry County Police Department at 770288-8200.

The family has opened an account for donations towards Christy's surgery, if you would like to donate.

You can make a donation at any Bank of America branch to the Christy Sims Fund or you can do it here.

A Facebook page has also been set up to get updates on Christy's condition called Justice for Christy Sims.

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