A 16-year-old male is now facing an assault-with-a-weapon charge following a coffee-throwing incident Jan. 30 in Elmira.
The boy turned himself in Feb. 2, said Staff Sgt. Mike Haffner of the Waterloo Regional Police.
That provides some closure to the Bateman family, who were looking for answers after 15-year-old Cerillia was the victim of what police called an assault.
On Monday around noon, Cerillia and two friends were walking along Elmira’s Industrial Drive towards McDonald’s for her lunch break. The two or more occupants of a black four-door sedan with silver rims (possibly a Honda or Mazda) threw a hot black coffee at the group, scalding the back of her head leaving what Marty, Cerillia’s mom, thinks are second degree burns.
“I am very glad. I am very glad he turned himself in. At the end of the day it was probably a prank that has gone very wrong, but it was something that I couldn’t’ let go,” Marty Bateman said Friday. “There are consequences for this type of thing. This was definitely violent versus just a ‘ha-ha’ joke. This was definitely an act of violence.
According to Marty, the car drove past Cerillia and her friends on Monday, flipping the walking group an obscene hand gesture. One person in the group returned the gesture. The car turned around and threw a McDonald’s coffee cup out the window once they got close, hitting Cerillia in the back of the head.
To reach the burns for treatment, the family had to shave the back of her head.
“We noticed there was some oozing in the hair, so we shaved her head, and that is when we saw the burns there. I told her to go wash the hair off her neck and I could just hear screaming,” said Marty. “She had gotten into a cool shower, but just the water running across the burns was so painful, she was just standing in the shower screaming.”
Bateman says she never expected anything like this to happen in Elmira. She moved her family here from south Cambridge to let her kids grow up in a safer area of the region.
“It is a small town, it got us away from where we were, it got us away from the Galt area, which was getting rough,” she said. “We moved out here, because it seemed safer. Less crime, less everything.”
She says there is one positive thing that has come out of the incident, however. The community has rallied around the Batemans, offering help wherever they can. Marty posted on social media about the incident, receiving feedback and encouragement from far and wide.
“I love the fact that the community came together. Everyone was giving the police officer tips to help him do his job, and I am thankful for the help. If someone else had posted something like that, I would have been the first one to try and help them,” she said. “Cici (Cerillia) has received flowers and well-wishes from California to BC. It is not just Elmira. It is the surrounding communities as well. The moral outrage is the same that I feel and everybody has been very helpful.”
With the perpetrator now facing charges, the incident has become less traumatic to her daughter, said Bateman.
“Now that he has turned himself in, Cici is feeling a bit more comfortable. She was worried that she would get backlash because her mom went to Facebook, so she was worried about whether she was going to be safe, but I told her not to worry. There is nothing wrong with standing up to a bully. This was bullying at its finest, it just happened that this time, it was Cici that took the brunt of it and I just want to make people aware that this isn’t okay. The amount of people who commented on the post that have things hurled at them from a moving vehicle is appalling. This will bring awareness that this is not okay and that it is punishable. I hate to see anyone get in trouble, but you can’t hurl something out of a window and expect that to be okay.”