Bond denied for mother accused of abandoning newborn along Forsyth County road
Investigators believe Karima Jiwani gave birth to “Baby India” inside of a vehicle, then drove “for a significant period of time” on the night of June 6, 2019.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A judge has denied bond for a mother accused of abandoning her newborn daughter on the side of a road just hours after birth.
In June 2019, deputies found a baby wrapped in a plastic bag along a wooded strip of land near Daves Creek Road in Cumming. The bag with the infant, who is being called “Baby India,” appeared to have been dumped on top of a pile of leaves and sticks.
During a news conference held Friday, Forsyth County officials announced they were able to identify the child’s biological father through advanced DNA testing -- which then led to the arrest of her mother, 40-year-old Karima Jiwani.
With heavy emotion, Sheriff Ron Freeman described the discovery of Baby India four years ago as “divine intervention.”
“If you looked at everything that happened for this little girl to survive.” Sheriff Freeman said. “For alert people to hear a sound in the woods that they thought was a wild animal. For two teenage girls who couldn’t let it go because they thought it sounded like a baby crying. To a dad that convinced to go out in the middle of the night to check on a weird sound in the middle of the woods...”
Investigators believe Jiwani gave birth to “Baby India” inside of a vehicle, then drove “for a significant period of time” on the night of June 6, 2019. At some point, she allegedly wrapped the newborn in a plastic bag and dumped her in a wooded area.
“It’s truly one of the saddest things I have ever seen,” Freeman said, adding that he believes Jiwani went “to extremes” to conceal her pregnancy.
“You really get it if you’re a parent,” he said. This innocent baby girl who needed everything... got put in a bag and left as a bag of trash to die. I’ll be very blunt, every one of us behind here said ‘We wanted this one.’ We wanted this resolved and we wanted to find the person responsible.”
Jiwani faces criminal attempt to commit murder, cruelty to children in the first degree, aggravated assault, dumping biomedical waste, commercial dumping and reckless abandonment charges in connection to the 2019 incident.
During a court hearing held Saturday, Jiwani’s defense attorney, E. Jay Abt, asked the judge to grant bond, arguing that she has no criminal history and has three other children at home.
“This woman suffered from postpartum depression/postpartum psychosis. This is a condition society should treat as a mental health issue, not a criminal,” Abt said during the hearing before a Forsyth County judge. “She just wants to be at home with her husband and kids.”
District Attorney Penny Pen asked the judge to deny bond, citing a lack of evidence that Jiwani suffered from postpartum depression and concerns over witness intimidation.
“Postpartum depression, by its very name and definition, implies that it takes place after. This woman actually delivered this baby and dumped it on the side of the road within 12 to 30 hours after this child was born,” Pen argued, adding that she has family in Texas and Ohio and financial resources that could present a flight risk.
Forsyth County Judge Keisha Martin Chambless denied bond, citing concerns that Jiwani posed a risk of leaving the court’s jurisdiction and her close access to family members who could be witnesses in the case.
At this time, investigators do not believe the child’s biological father had knowledge of the birth or the abandonment.
When asked about Baby India, whose real name is being concealed to protect her identity, Sheriff Freeman said the young girl, now four years old, was “happy and healthy.”
Under Georgia’s Safe Haven law, a mother can drop off their newborn up to 30 days after giving birth to a hospital, fire station or police department without criminal penalty. According to a 2020 National Institute of Health report, at least 4,100 children were safely surrendered nationwide since 1999.
If you have questions or are considering abandoning a newborn, you can call or text the National Safe Haven Alliance at 1-888-510-BABY (2229).
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