Karima Jiwani, whose newborn baby was discovered abandoned but alive in a plastic bag in 2019, was charged Thursday in Georgia with attempt to commit murder.
At a press conference Friday, Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman detailed how the woman came to be put under arrest four years after her daughter, dubbed “Baby India,” was saved from the woods in a case that made national headlines.
India’s umbilical cord was reportedly still attached on the June night when she was rescued by authorities, who responded to a 911 call from a family who said they heard crying.
“This child was tied up in a plastic bag and thrown into the woods like a bag of trash,” Freeman said during the press conference. “It literally is one of the saddest things I have ever seen.”
The county sheriff’s office had released harrowing body camera footage of the moment she was saved, but India’s identity remained unknown for years. Investigators made a breakthrough about 10 months ago, however, when they found her father via DNA testing.
Jiwani, 40, has now been identified as the girl’s biological mother. Authorities have no reason to believe India’s father was aware of the pregnancy or any plans to abandon her, Freeman said. Jiwani has been held without bond at a local jail, and her first court appearance was scheduled for Saturday.
In addition to one count of attempt to commit murder, Jiwani faces additional charges: cruelty to children in the first degree, aggravated assault, and reckless abandonment.
“Four years ago, I said in this room, and I told you, we will bring this person to justice,” Freeman said. “Little did I know it was going to take four years.”
Citing conversations with family and medical workers, Freeman alleged that Jiwani had a “history of hidden and concealed pregnancies and surprise births,” adding that she “went to extremes to conceal this pregnancy” with India.
Freeman didn’t suggest any potential motive during the press conference, but he said India was likely born in a car and driven around for a “significant period of time” before being put in the woods.
According to the National Safe Haven Alliance, which promotes laws giving immunity to parents who anonymously surrender their unharmed children to designated providers within certain time frames, 31 babies were discarded in dumpsters and other dangerous locations in 2021.
Watch footage of India’s rescue from 2019 here. (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 residence at the time of her arrest, and it has contacted the state’s Division of Family and Children Services for further action.
Though he did not go into detail about India’s current status, Freeman assured reporters that she is now “prospering.”