(Forsyth County, GA) Karima Jiwani, 40, was arrested by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) on Thursday, May 18 for the abandonment of “Baby India” in 2019.
On June 6, 2019, around 10 p.m., the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) responded to calls concerning a baby crying on the 1900 block of Daves Creek Road. Deputies found a newborn girl abandoned in the wooded area along the road inside a plastic bag.
The baby was reported to be healthy and was named “Baby India” by nurses from a list of names for abandoned babies. She was taken into custody by the state’s Department of Children and Family Services.
The FCSO bodycam of the footage can be viewed here.
The investigation and arrest
During a news conference on Friday, May 19, Sheriff Ron Freeman gave details of the investigation, which involved the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and spanned from the northeast to the midwest.
Using advanced investigative DNA practices, the father of “Baby India” was located about 10 months ago. Freeman said there is no evidence currently that the father was aware of the abandonment or even the pregnancy.
After finding key DNA evidence, almost 40 FCSO deputies conducted multiple search warrants and arrests across the county. Dozens of interviews were also held and are still ongoing.
Sheriff Deputy Terry Roper, who was the first to Baby India’s side in 2019, was one of the deputies who arrested Jiwani, who lived in the southeast part of Forsyth County. Jiwani, who was cooperative with the arrest, wore Freeman’s own handcuffs to the Forsyth County Jail.
“I told you four years ago when we find them, my cuffs would be on her, and they were,” Freeman said.
Evidence in the investigation suggests that Jiwani gave birth to Baby India alone in a vehicle and drove alone for a “significant amount of time” before tying her up in a plastic bag and abandoning her in the woods, making no effort to leave her in a place where she would be found.
Evidence found at the abandonment scene also suggests that it is likely she was alone then, too.
Freeman said detectives are currently searching for the vehicle and have leads on it.
“How a parent, and I happen to be one too, can do such a callous thing is incomprehensible to all of us and it's infuriating,” Freeman said. “I’m dumbfounded by any reasoning that could be there and how someone can have the ability to leave their own child to die.”
Due to interviews with family, friends and medical professionals, it was discovered that Jiwani had a history of hiding pregnancies and having “surprise” births. However, Freeman said no other “criminal” acts regarding this behavior were found.
Digital evidence suggested Jiwani had known of her pregnancy with Baby India for a “fairly considerable” amount of time and went to extremes to hide the pregnancy. Freeman said they were all surprised by these facts.
“This is an incredible case with the strangest of circumstances from the beginning to the end,” Freeman said.
She is being held without bond and charged with Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder, Cruelty to Children in the 1st Degree, Aggravated Assault and Reckless Abandonment.
Jiwani is the mother of other children ranging from school-age to near adult. They have been taken into the care of the State Department of Family and Children’s Services.
Due to the ongoing investigation, no information was given as to a motive for the abandonment.
Freeman said that in his 33 years of experience in the field, this was the case he wanted solved the most.
“I thought I would be madder than I am but I'm actually probably a little sadder, because I can't understand it,” Freeman said. “I think we’re better than that in humanity.”
He emphasized the need for people to be aware of Georgia’s Safe Haven Law, which provides mothers a 30-day window of opportunity after birth to anonymously leave their babies at a fire station, police department or hospital without facing criminal charges.
“I want to be very clear about the difference in someone…who's in emotional distress and abandons a child because they don't know what else to do, but took some effort at least to find some safety and care for that child versus somebody trying to kill a child,” Freeman said. “They're not the same thing.”
While details as to Baby India’s current condition were not given due to privacy, the sheriff said she is “prosperous, happy and healthy.”
The 2019 rescue reached national and international audiences, with the story being covered by People Magazine and featured on the Today Show. Fox News reported that more than 1,000 adoption offers had been made for the baby.
A June 28, 2019, Facebook post from the FCSO shared a map of where they had received offers of support from, including 45 US states, Germany, Ethiopia, South Africa, Canada, the UK, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The investigation is still ongoing.
This story will be updated as more information is released.
For more information on Georgia’s Safe Haven Law, click here.
If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at email@example.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @justalookenott.