Karima Jiwani, whose newborn baby was abandoned but discovered alive in a plastic bag in 2019, was charged with attempted murder in Georgia on Thursday.
At a news conference Friday, Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman explained how the woman was arrested four years after the birth of their daughter, dubbed “Baby India.” Rescued out of the woods in a case that made national headlines.
India’s umbilical cord was reportedly still connected on the night of June when she was rescued by authorities. They were responding to a 911 call from a family who said they heard crying.
“This kid was tied up in a plastic bag and thrown in the woods like a bag of trash,” Freeman said called during the press conference. “It’s literally one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.”
The county sheriff’s office had released harrowing body camera footage of the moment of her rescue, but India’s identity remained unknown for years. About ten months ago, however, investigators made a breakthrough when they found her father using DNA tests.
40-year-old Jiwani has now been identified as the girl’s biological mother. Authorities have no reason to believe India’s father knew of the pregnancy or plans to abandon her, Freeman said. Jiwani was being held without bail at a local jail and her first court appearance was scheduled for Saturday.
In addition to attempted murder, Jiwani faces other charges: cruelty to first-degree children, aggravated assault and reckless abandonment.
“Four years ago, I said in this room and I told you, we’re going to bring that person to justice,” Freeman said. “I didn’t know it was going to take four years.”
Citing interviews with family members and medical staff, Freeman claimed Jiwani had a “history of covert and covert pregnancies and surprise births,” adding that she “went to the extremes to hide this pregnancy” from India.
Freeman did not reveal a possible motive during the press conference, but said India was likely born in a car and driven around for “a significant amount of time” before being taken to the forest.
According to the National Safe Haven Alliance, which works to legislate immunity to parents who anonymously hand over their intact children to certain providers within certain periods, 31 babies were disposed of in dumpsters and other hazardous locations in 2021.
Watch footage of India’s rescue from 2019. (This video contains graphic scenes and may be disturbing to some readers.)
During the press conference, Freeman added that the sheriff’s office found other children at Jiwani’s home at the time of her arrest and contacted the state Department of Family and Children’s Services for further action.
Though he didn’t elaborate on India’s current status, Freeman assured reporters that the country is now “prospering.”