Nearly four years after an abandoned newborn girl was found alive in a plastic bag left in a wooded area in north Georgia, authorities have identified and arrested the child’s mother.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Karima Jiwani, 40, Thursday on charges of criminal attempt to commit murder, cruelty to children in the first degree, aggravated assault and reckless abandon.
The sheriff’s office identified the child’s father about 10 months ago using advanced DNA testing practices and familial DNA, Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said during a news conference Friday.
Within the past week, DNA helped the sheriff’s office identify Jiwani as the mother of the child, dubbed “Baby India,” Freeman said.
The baby was believed to be just hours old when a family in Cumming, Georgia, about 40 miles north of Atlanta, heard what they thought were animal sounds coming from a wooded area on June 6, 2019.
Forsyth County Sheriff
Karima Jiwani faces a number of charges for abandoning her baby in 2019, according to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Body camera footage from responding law enforcement officers showed the crying child wrapped in a yellow plastic bag with her umbilical cord still attached.
Baby India’s birth likely took place inside a vehicle, according to Freeman.
Additional evidence revealed that Jiwani drove for a “significant period” after the birth with the child in the car, “until she decided to tie the child in a plastic bag and throw it in the woods to die,” Freeman said.
CNN could not determine whether Jiwani has an attorney.
Freeman said evidence gathered during the investigation led authorities to believe Jiwani was likely alone when the child was abandoned.
Jiwani, who lived in southeast Forsyth County, has been cooperating with detectives throughout the investigation, according to the sheriff’s office.
Authorities said they could not discuss motives or details of what Jiwani told investigators because the case is pending prosecution.
“Little can explain how this happened and no motive can justify that decision,” Freeman said. “Jiwani made no effort to leave this child, not only during ‘Sure (Haven) Law,’ but anywhere this child could be found.”
Under Georgia’s Safe Place for Newborns Act, also known as the “Safe Haven Law,” mothers cannot face criminal charges if they leave their babies with volunteers or staff at medical facilities or at a fire or police station, according to the Georgia Department of Human Services.
Georgia law applies to children 30 days of age or younger.
The sheriff’s office investigation discovered that Jiwani had a history of “hidden and hidden pregnancies and surprise births,” Freeman said, adding digital evidence indicated she had known about this particular pregnancy for some time and “went to extremes to hide” it.
“There is no evidence at this time that the father was aware of either the pregnancy or the abandonment of the baby,” the sheriff added.
Freeman did not discuss details of Baby India’s current status Friday, but said she was “happy, healthy and in a safe place.”