By LAUREN SILVER
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. (Court TV) – A woman is facing attempted murder and assault charges after allegedly tying her newborn infant in a plastic bag and leaving the child in the woods.
Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman announced Friday at a news conference that detectives had made an arrest nearly four years to the day after the infant was found alive.
Karima Jiwani, 40, was arrested and charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault, reckless abandonment and cruelty to children in the first degree.
The infant, dubbed “Baby India” by detectives, was found tied in a plastic bag in the woods on June 6, 2019.
“Back then, I called it divine intervention. And I truly believe that still today.”
Freeman described finding Baby India as a “divine intervention,” crediting two teenagers who thought they heard a baby crying and their father whom they convinced to go out in the middle of the night to search in the woods. Detectives said that they believe Jiwani gave birth in a vehicle and drove around for a “significant time” before tying it in a plastic bag and throwing it into the woods.
Detectives finally got a break in the case thanks to DNA. Freeman said that detectives were able to identify the father of Baby India using familial DNA. Once they determined the father’s identity, a more concerted investigation began to determine who was responsible for abandoning the child.
Freeman said that within the last week, using DNA, investigators were able to identify Jiwani as the child’s birth parent.
“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. “I’m dumbfounded by any reasoning that could be there and how somebody could leave their own child to die.”
Freeman noted at the news conference that Georgia has a “Safe Harbor” law, which allows parents to leave an infant at a hospital, fire station, police station or sheriff’s office in the first 30 days of its life with no penalties. “Ms. Jiwani made no effort to leave this child, not only under a safe harbor law but any place this child could be found,” Freeman said. “This child was tied up in a plastic bag and thrown into the woods like a bag of trash.”
Describing the case, Freeman said, “It literally is one of the saddest things I have ever seen,” and said that investigators were shocked when evidence revealed that Jiwani has a history of “hidden and concealed pregnancies and surprise births.” Freeman said the evidence did not point to any other criminal acts.
Freeman noted that the deputy who took Jiwani into custody was Terry Roper, who was one of the first responding deputies who rescued Baby India four years ago. Citing “executive privilege,” Freeman said that it was his personal handcuffs that were used in the arrest. I told you four years ago that we’d find ’em and my cuffs would be on ’em. And they were.”
Baby India, who has not been further identified, survived and was described as “happy and healthy” by Freeman at the news conference. “Isn’t it going to be cool to watch this baby grow up and do some great things in spite of these beginnings.”
A judge ordered that Jiwani be held without bond, according to online records.