Nearly four years after a newborn child was placed in a yellow shopping bag, thrown “like a bag of trash” into the woods, and left there to die, police apprehended the mother, who is now being held on many criminal counts, including attempted murder.
In 2019, Baby India, who was dumped in a knotted bag with her umbilical cord still connected and was coated in placenta and blood, was saved by a family who heard her cries in the bushes next to their house.
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On a blisteringly hot June day in Cummings, Georgia, Alan Ragatz and his four kids arrived at their house at 8:30 p.m. When his three teenage daughters reported hearing a “strange cry” coming from the woods enclosing their home, Alan was ready to lock the doors and turn on the air conditioning as he prepared for bed.
Ragatz’s daughter had claimed, “Dad, we hear a baby.” The daughters seized a few flashlights and followed the screams because they were perplexed by the noises and refused to believe it was an animal. They soon came back, imploring with their father to follow.
“You would hear it and then it would muffle up, and as we walked down it got a little more clear,” he said.
Then, the family made a heartbreaking discovery.
“We found a, looked like a bathmat that was all wrapped up, and by the time we got to it and opened the bathmat, it was a little baby, in (what) looked like a Publix bag tied,” Ragatz said of the baby, who covered in blood, was dumped on a pile of leaves and sticks. “She still had her umbilical cord and part of the placenta.”
When one of the daughters, Kayla, broke the news that it was “terrifying” and “scary,” Alan and her siblings reacted with fear and tears.
“Once we found her, my girls were in shock and it was an emotional deal and everyone was upset,” said Ragatz, who called the baby a “fighter.” “We don’t cast judgment on whoever did this. We know there are issues in society but there’s better ways than this.”
When Forsyth County officials responded to a 911 call, they discovered the infant, who was still very much alive.
The infant girl, known as India, was born at full term and is thought to have been born the day before she was discovered, according to sheriff Ron Freeman.
Police shared a horrifying bodycam footage that showed the bag being ripped apart and the tiny infant sobbing while grasping the finger of one of the policemen as they immediately began their search to find the individual responsible for leaving the newborn.
Police at the time had no information on India’s mother and had no idea of her origins. Sharing the video was done in the hopes that it would provide some clarification and “credible information on the identity of Baby India and to show how important it is to find closure in this case.”
Later, it was revealed by Forsyth County that Baby India was “thriving and is in the care of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services,” while thousands of people around the world, reached out, wanting to adopt the baby.
“It’s amazing the number of people who are looking to take on a new life into their families,” Sheriff Freeman said, “and we got somebody who tried to throw one away.”
Police reported that the mother, Karima Jawani, 40, of Atlanta, had been detained in May 2023 after searching relentlessly for information regarding Baby India’s identity.
Freeman said, “Four years ago, I said in this room, and I told you, we will bring this person to justice…,” when speaking to the media during a press conference.
I had no idea that it would take four years.Freeman stated that when “advanced DNA practices” assisted in identifying Baby India’s biological father, investigators made a significant advancement.
After it was completed, detectives had to determine who had abandoned the infant in the woods. Evidence, according to the statement, “indicates the baby was born in the car and driven for a “substantial length of time” by the suspect, Jiwani, who made “no effort to leave this child” in a location where she could be found.”
Family and friends have claimed that Jiwani has a “history of hidden and concealed pregnancies and surprise births,” according to Freeman, who also stated that there is no proof the father was aware of the pregnancy or the baby’s abandonment.
“This child was tied up in a plastic bag and thrown into the woods like a bag of trash. I can’t understand that,” Freeman said. “It literally is one of the saddest things I have ever seen.”
Jiwani is being held without bond and is accused of aggravated assault, child cruelty in the first degree, criminal attempt to commit murder, and reckless abandonment. Freeman emphasized that parents who are unable or unwilling to care for a newborn have legal choices accessible to them.
A mother can anonymously leave her newborn baby, who is under 30 days old, in a hospital, fire station, or police station without facing any legal repercussions thanks to the Safe-Haven statute, also known as the Baby Moses law in some jurisdictions.
The National Safe Haven Alliance reports that in 2021, 33 illegally abandoned newborns were saved by the organization, but 22 of the babies were discovered dead.
“When a biological parent wouldn’t do what they’re supposed to do, Forsyth County surrounded this little girl with love, care and prayers and lifted her up the way it’s supposed to be,” Freeman said adding that Baby India is now “happy, healthy and in a safe place.”
The Ragatz family, who rescued Baby India’s life, ought to be commended for helping to find her. We are delighted that Karima Jiwani is being charged for what she did since it is abhorrent for a mother to throw away her helpless child in such a manner.
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