VANCOUVER, Wash. The woman who falsely claimed a stranger threw acid in her face and then allowed people to throw her a fundraiser pleaded not guilty to theft charges in court Wednesday.
Bethany Storro, of Vancouver, entered the courtroom surrounded by local and national media early Wednesday morning, the scars on her face clearly visible with her hair pulled into a bun. Her court appearance was the first time she'd been in public since a hospital press conference Sept. 1 when her head was covered with bandaging. On Wednesday, she only had one small bandage on her nose.
VIDEO: Storro appears in court
Photos:Bethany Storro's arraignment
She has been charged with theft after she accepted donations from a fundraiser set up to help her pay the medical bills from what she claimed at the time was an acid attack. Some time after the fundraiser, police said Storro confessed to them that she had made up the story about the attack and she had actually applied drain cleaner onto her own face.
After her confession, Storro sought medical care at an undisclosed location.
The judge Wednesday granted Storro supervised release without bail, which allowed her to return to the medical facility where she has been receiving specialized care.
Court records indicated that Storro has spent about $1,500 of the nearly $28,000 donated to her. Among other things, investigators said she bought a train ticket for her sister, went on a shopping spree at Target and took her parents out to dinner.
Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Tony Golik has said that the accounts containing donated money have been frozen. Much of the money was donated through a fund at Umpqua Bank. The bank released a statement Wednesday explaining how people can get refunds if they have a receipt. Melissa Moore, a spokeswoman for Umpqua, said the unclaimed money will be donated to Legacy Emanuel Hospital's burn center.
Storro's parents have promised that all money will be returned. They attended the arraignment wearing all black and showed support for their daughter but did not speak in the courtroom.
The judge set Storro's next court date for October 19 and her trial was scheduled to begin on December 20.