Nearly four years after a newborn baby was found abandoned in a plastic bag in the woods of rural Georgia, deputies have arrested a woman they believe to be the baby’s biological mother and charged her with attempted murder.
Karima Jiwani, 40, was taken into the custody of one of the sheriff’s deputies who helped rescue the newborn nearly four years ago.
She was charged with felony attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault, reckless neglect, cruelty to children in the first degree and several other charges, according to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities found the baby in Cumming, Georgia, after a 911 call came in June 6, 2019, when two teenagers heard a noise that sounded like a baby crying and convinced the father to investigate.
She was called India – a name given to her by the authorities – and placed in the care of a foster family approved by the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services.
At the time, the sheriff’s office released video of the deputies finding the newborn in hopes it would lead to information about the baby’s identity.
Karima Jiwani, 40, arrested Thursday for abandoning her newborn daughter in the Georgia woods in 2019
The baby was named India – a name given to her by the authorities – and placed in the care of a foster family approved by the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services.
The video showed a sheriff’s deputy tearing open a plastic bag to reveal the baby still covered in fluids from birth with the umbilical cord attached. She was then taken to a local hospital.
The child’s survival was described as miraculous by Sheriff Ron Freeman: “I called it divine intervention then and I truly believe it, to this day.”
“If you look at everything that had to happen for this little girl to survive, for alert people who heard a sound in the woods that they thought was a wild animal, but two teenage girls who couldn’t let it go because they thought it sounded like a baby crying,” Freeman said on Friday.
The two boys convinced their father to go out into the woods in the middle of the night to try to locate the origin of the sound.
The big breakthrough in the years-long case came 10 months ago when the sheriff’s office was able to identify Baby India’s father using family DNA.
The biological father was reportedly unaware of the pregnancy and is not charged.
After thousands of hours of investigation, Jiwani was arrested on Thursday and subsequently denied bail.
“I told you four years ago that we would find them and I would have them in handcuffs, and they were,” Freeman said during a news conference.
“How a parent, and I happen to be, could do such an insensitive thing is both incomprehensible, to all of us, and infuriating,” she continued.
“I am amazed at any reasoning there could be and how anyone could have the ability to let their child die.”
Sheriff Ron Freeman said the arrest came after thousands of hours of work by his deputies
India was found in a plastic bag in the Georgia woods and miraculously still alive after being abandoned just hours after her birth
Freeman said the evidence suggests Jiwani gave birth in her car and drove “for a significant amount of time” before depositing the baby in the woods.
‘This child was tied up in a plastic bag and dumped in the woods like a bag of trash. I can’t figure it out, I really wish I could. I struggle, but I don’t know how you can understand it. It’s literally one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen,” she said.
The sheriff’s office also alleges that Jiwani has “a history of covert, covert pregnancies and surprise births” and had been aware of her pregnancy for “quite a considerable amount of time and went to great lengths to hide it.”
According to Freeman, little India is currently happy and healthy.
Sheriff Freeman said little India is now happy and thriving
During a court hearing on Saturday morning, Jiwani’s attorney told the court that the woman suffered from postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis like “millions” of other women across the country.
She also pointed out that Jiwani has no criminal record and is a homeowner and stay-at-home mom of three.
District Attorney Penny Penn rebuked the indictment, saying postpartum depression doesn’t set in until a certain time after a baby is born and that Jiwani is accused of dumping the newborn just hours after it was born.
Penn added that Jiwani admitted to authorities he intended to kill his son in an interview following his arrest.
Jiwani’s next hearing is set for June 13.