Girl Fight Victim's Self-Confidence “Shattered”

Attack on Sauk Village teen caught on cell phone video

The victim of the brutal Sauk Village girl fight appeared on NBC's "Today" Friday morning, saying she has not yet recovered from the attack, either physically or emotionally.

A cell phone camera captured the graphic and violent beating in which 17-year-old Mercedes Michaels is kicked and burned with a cigarette lighter, and her hair is cut off.

The teen said she still suffers from back and neck pain from the beating.

Wearing long black hair extensions to cover her scalped head, the South Chicago Heights teen showed a national audience her burns and the bandages she's wearing to protect her injuries.

She told "Today" that the attack apparently stemmed from the fact that one of the girls thought Mercedes and her ex-boyfriend were dating.

"We weren't," she said.

Asked if she would be returning to school in the fall, Mercedes softly said she wasn't sure.

Her mother, Cathy Mendez, was more definite.

"I don't want her to," she said. "We're going to have to find something else."

The concerned mom said that the girls charged in the attack attend different high schools in the area.

"Everyone around here knows (Mercedes), knows what happened," Mendez said.

The teen said that she fears everyone is looking at her, and that her self-confidence has been shattered.

Sarah Kraft, 17, of Park Forest, and Marcelena Castillo, 17, of Steger, have been arrested and charged with aggravated battery in the attack. Two minor girls are also facing related charges.

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