12-year-old accused of pouring boiling water on girl at sleepover faces felony charge

Scott Akerman

Jamoneisha Merritt was at a sleepover in New York City when she was suddenly jolted awake early Monday morning.

The 11-year-old — who has burns to her face, neck, shoulders and chest — suffered second-degree burns after friends poured boiling water on her face, according to NY1.

It was part of the “hot water challenge,” a game when someone is usually surprised with a bucket of scalding water thrown on their body, although sometimes people participate willingly.

"Her and her friend got into an argument,” Merritt’s cousin said, according to ABC7. “She told her if she goes to sleep, they were gonna do something to her. So, it was like 3:00 in the morning so she went to sleep. The girl on tape says she boiled water and she threw it on her.”

Ebony, Merritt’s mother, said her daughter is in immense physical and emotional pain because of the injuries and betrayal from someone she thought was her friend.

She is also not allowing her daughter to look at her face.

“She’s very sad,” Ebony told NY1. “She’s emotionally messed up. She don’t understand why they did that to her. She thought they was her friends.”

Merritt was admitted to a local hospital with second-degree burns, according to NBC New York.

The 12-year-old girl, who allegedly poured the boiling water on Merritt, is being charged with felony assault.

“I was told that they didn’t like her, and they just been bullying her,” Ebony said. “They’ve been on Snapchat. It’s been going on several times. The girl admitted it. ‘I don’t like her. I wanted to do it.’ ”

An adult was home at the time of the incident, according to NY1.

An 8-year-old girl died this July, months after her cousin dared her to drink boiling hot water from a straw, myPalmBeachPost reported. The girl, named Ki’ari Pope, burned her mouth and throat and received a tracheotomy that caused her respiratory problems.

Pope and her cousin had just watched a “hot water challenge” YouTube video, according to Time, where someone was seen drinking boiling water from a straw.

Wesley Smith, a ten-year-old boy from North Carolina, suffered second- and third-degree burns while also trying to replicate a “hot water challenge” video he saw on Youtube, according to

“When we got to the hospital and I actually seen it, I thought the poor boy had been through a war,” said Jimmy Daugherty, the boy’s step-father.

“Watch what your kids are doing on the internet,” he added.