In one of the most gruesome stories of 2019, a homeless man in Los Angeles, Calif., dumped a bucket of “hot liquid diarrhea” on the head of an unsuspecting woman just walking back to her car near the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“It was diarrhea. Hot liquid. I was soaked, and it was coming off my eyelashes and into my eyes,” Heidi Van Tassel told NBC Los Angeles. “Paramedics who came to treat me said there was so much of it on me, that it looked like the man was saving it up for a month.”
Van Tassel had enjoyed a pleasant evening with her friends at an authentic Thai restaurant before she was randomly targeted for the fecal matter attack. The homeless man reportedly pulled her out of her car, dragged her out to the middle of the street, and dumped the diarrhea on her head.
The poor woman was rushed to Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, where she was tested for infectious diseases caused by contact with feces. She will need to be retested every three months.
Speaking with NBC Los Angeles, she described a grotesque scene of diarrhea Armageddon. “It was all inside my car because it was so much. He just kept pouring it and splattering it all over me,” she said.
Yet Van Tassel’s nightmare was far from over.
The Los Angeles Police Department told her they would investigate the crime, but they did not answer her calls after the fact. Van Tassel also said the police promised to have their victims’ advocate reach out to her, but she never got a call.
Security footage from nearby businesses captured the attack on camera, and police bodycams captured the aftermath, but the LAPD and businesses would not release the footage when Van Tassel asked to see it.
“It’s so traumatic. The PTSD that I’m dealing with is beyond anything that I’ve ever felt,” Van Tassel said. “There needs to be some kind of help for the victims of these crimes.”
The diarrhea assailant, identified in court records as Jere Blessings, was charged with battery and taken to jail. Records described the man as a transient with “schizophrenia and psychotic disorders.” A judge sent him to a residential facility for people with mental health issues, but he was released in August.
“He doesn’t need jail time. He needs mental health care,” Van Tassel said. “I have empathy for him. Because he needs help.”
Crying, she added, “It was awful. And it changed my life.”
This horrific attack draws into stark relief just how bad conditions have become in California. Thanks to burgeoning homeless populations, medieval diseases like Typhus have spread in modern cities like Los Angeles. “In some places, municipal sidewalks have become open sewers of garbage, used needles, rodents and infectious diseases. Yet noe one dares question progressive orthodoxy by enforcing drug and vagrancy laws, moving the homeless out of cities to suburban or rural facilities, or increasing the number of mental hospitals,” PJ Media’s Victor Davis Hanson wrote last month.
High taxes, crumbling infrastructure, weak schools, and overcrowded medical facilities plague the state that once offered hope to millions. The wealthy live separate lives, isolated from these struggles.
Hanson has described the modern state of California as “medieval” and “premodern,” for good reason. While the idea that medieval Britons chucked feces regularly out their windows may be an urban legend, the disposal of feces posed a constant problem in ancient and medieval societies. Excrement got everywhere and occasionally hollowed out floorboards, leading people to fall to their deaths in cesspools. We really should thank our lucky stars for the wonders of modern plumbing.
Van Tassel’s nightmare was particularly horrific and remains extremely unlikely to be repeated. However, as homeless populations grow, some of the premodern struggles with disposing of feces in a sanitary manner will remerge.
I’ve never heard of anything as gross as this: A homeless man dumped a bucket of hot diarrhea on a woman getting into her car. I’m finishing up an @NBCLA I-Team report airing tonight at 11 about the rising number of violent and bizarre crimes involving the homeless. pic.twitter.com/xO6Nyh42ew
— Joel Grover (@JoelNBCLA) November 11, 2019
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.