Madison Police close case on woman who suffered burns to her face

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 9:32 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison Police Dept. has closed its investigation into the alleged attack on Althea Bernstein, saying detectives were unable to corroborate her story nor were they able to locate any evidence consistent with what she said happened that night.

Bernstein had repeatedly claimed she had been crossing State Street in her car on the way to University Avenue on June 24 when four white men in a truck pulled up next to her and sprayed lighter fluid on her face, before setting her on fire.

The Madison Police Dept. noted that it “dedicated significant resources” to investigating Bernstein’s allegation, with detectives conducting numerous interviews, reviewing video, and analyzing physical and digital evidence.

“I think when you look at the materials and sort of the summary timeline that we provided, that really speaks for itself, but we weren’t obviously able to determine what did happen so there certainly were questions that we weren’t able to answer during this investigation,” Acting Madison PD Chief Vic Wahl told NBC15.

A statement from MPD stated Bernstein “was treated with dignity and respect at all times during the course of the investigation.” It also released a statement attributed to her family thanking police for their efforts.

“Althea Bernstein and her family appreciate the detailed investigative efforts by all involved in this case. Althea’s injuries are healing and the support of our community has been invaluable in that regard. We continue to maintain our family privacy and will not be granting interviews at this time,” the statement read.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has also closed its investigation into the case.

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