NEW YORK - An 11-year-old New York City girl who was badly burned when boiling water was poured on her during a sleepover was the special guest at a block party in the Bronx on Thursday.
The neighborhood came together for Jamoni Merritt, who said she was looking forward to stepping out and enjoying the festivities.
She said she was thrilled about being honored at the annual neighborhood block party on Finley Avenue in the Morrisania section, a celebration for the brave, resilient young girl who is bouncing back.
She was upbeat and smiling the whole time she spoke with WABC reporter N.J. Burkett on Wednesday, telling him she can't dwell on what happened to her.
"I can't be angry," she said. "I have to be happy."
She suffered second- and third-degree burns across her shoulders and 85 percent of her face after she was the victim of an apparent prank from a 12-year-old girl who allegedly splashed the boiling water on her during a sleepover in the middle of the night.
"I started jumping, 'It's hot! It's hot! It's hot!'" she said. "And then she was like, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It was by accident. No, it was by accident.'...That's no accident. You don't play like that."
Web extra: Girl talks about being burned by boiling water
The girl was charged as a juvenile, but Merritt and her mother want others charged, like the girl's parents, who didn't call 911 for 90 minutes.
"I would not have been as angry if the mother came to me as a mother and told me exactly what happened the right way," mom Ebony Merritt said. "Instead of covering it up and have my daughter sit there for an hour and a half."
If her recovery goes well, doctors say the scars will heal and her face will return to her natural color.