Police release sketch of suspect who threw acid on Mesa woman

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

MESA, Ariz. -- Mesa police have released a sketch of a suspect who threw acid on a woman while she was getting out of her car Thursday afternoon.

According to Detective Michael Melendez with the Mesa Police Department, Derri Velarde, 41, arrived at her home in an apartment complex near Southern Avenue and Val Vista Drive at approximately 1 p.m.

While Velarde was getting out of her car in the parking lot, a woman approached and threw acid on her then ran northbound through the complex.

Police did not locate the suspect. Velarde did not know the woman.

Velarde was transported to Maricopa County Medical Center with second-degree burns to her face and chest where she was treated over the weekend. Doctors say she is lucky the acid didn't get into her eyes.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic female, 30 to 40 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 140 pounds. She reportedly had wide hips and black shoulder-length hair that was pulled into a ponytail. She was wearing a black tank top and black sweat pants with a white stripe.

Melendez said it appears that this was not a random act.

Detectives are following up on leads. The suspect will face assault charges for the crime.