New York, May 20
Police in the US state of Georgia have arrested a 40-year-old woman for attempting to commit murder and reckless abandonment for stuffing her newborn dubbed “Baby India” into a plastic bag in 2019 and throwing her in the woods like trash, according to media reports.
Karima Jiwani was arrested on Thursday after she was identified as the baby’s biological mother through DNA. Her nationality was not known.
A visibly emotional Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman held a press conference on Friday to announce Jiwani’s arrest on charges of attempted murder, cruelty to children, aggravated assault and reckless abandonment, The New York Post, a tabloid newspaper reported.
On June 6, 2019, a sheriff’s deputy was called to the woods near the 1900 block of Daves Creek Road in Cumming by a neighbour reporting that he and his children heard a baby crying.
The baby was believed to be just hours old when the family heard what they thought were animal noises coming from a wooded area, CNN reported.
Deputy Terry Roper came upon a tied-up plastic bag in the brush, which contained a baby girl with her umbilical cord still attached, as seen in a graphic body camera footage that was later released in the hope of generating leads in the case.
The newborn was taken to a local hospital. She was dubbed “Baby India” by nurses who cared for her.
Sheriff Freeman said Friday that his deputies have spent thousands of hours trying to identify the person responsible for abandoning the infant.
Freeman said that in his 33 years in law enforcement, he has never wanted to make an arrest more than he did in this case.
“This child was tied up in a plastic bag and thrown into the woods like a bag of trash,” the sheriff said in a quivering voice.
“It’s literally one of the saddest things I have ever seen.”
According to Freeman, the first major break in the investigation happened 10 months ago, when detectives were able to identify “Baby India’s” biological father through familiar DNA, which eventually led them to Jiwani.
Within the past week, county investigators, assisted by the FBI, again used DNA to confirm that the woman was “Baby India’s” birth mom, according to the sheriff.
Freeman said that Jiwani, who has other children ranging from school-age to near-adults, knew that she was pregnant with “Baby India” in the summer of 2019 — and had a history of concealed pregnancies and “surprise” births.
She allegedly delivered the baby in a car and drove for a long time without making any effort to leave the infant at a place where she could be found and taken to safety.
“How a parent — and I happen to be one, too — can do such a callous thing is both incomprehensible to all of us and it’s infuriating,” Freeman said of Jiwani’s alleged act.
“Baby India’s” father did not know about Jiwani’s pregnancy and is not facing any charges, he added.
Freeman declined to say what happened to “Baby India” in the intervening years, only saying that the girl – now approaching her fourth birthday — is “happy, healthy and in a safe place.”
Jiwani was ordered held in the county jail without bond. She is scheduled to make her initial court appearance on Saturday.