Written by: E. George
Published May 24, 2023 @ 9:40 PM ET
Warning: The following story contains information regarding physical violence against/neglect of children.
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – On June 6, 2019, just before a severe thunderstorm approached, neighbors heard what they thought were animal noises in the woods. Two teenagers, persistent that the noises did not sound like an animal, sent their father to search the dark woods for the source of the sound. They followed the sound and discovered an abandoned newborn baby girl tied up in a plastic bag on the ground.
Body camera footage revealed deputies carefully tearing open the bag and finding the baby “with her umbilical cord still attached.” They nervously wrapped the crying infant in a jacket and did their best to comfort her.
It is believed that the mother gave birth to “Baby India” in her car and drove around for a substantial amount of time before leaving her in the forest. The neighbor who found her told a reporter that it seemed like an act of God that he and his daughters discovered her. The family lived on a desolate street without any neighbors within close proximity.
Police did not know who left the newborn in the woods until a break in the case four years later.
Authorities were able to identify the father in July 2022 using DNA evidence. It seemed he was not aware of the abandonment of his child or even the pregnancy. Police then used this lead to track down the potential mother of “Baby India.”
Officers arrested the suspect, the child’s mother, Karima Jiwani, on May 18, 2023, roughly four years after the crime. Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said that 40-year-old Jiwani “had a history of concealed pregnancies and surprise births,” but they had never found “criminal acts like this” before. Jiwani, who has multiple other children, were removed from her care.
Digital evidence revealed that she went to extreme lengths to hide this pregnancy. Freeman stated, “This investigation has taken thousands of hours, and we never stopped in those four years.”
He said, “Jiwani made no effort to leave this child, not only under Safe (Haven) Law but in any place this child could be found.” Police say she purposely left the child in the woods to die with hopes that she would never be found.
According to Georgia’s Department of Human Services, the Safe Haven Law (Safe Place for Newborns Act) states that mothers cannot be criminally charged if they leave their baby (no more than 30 days old) with medical facility volunteers or staff members at a police or fire station.
Sheriff Freeman announced, “Baby India is now prosperous, happy, and healthy. When those who were supposed to do their best did their worst to her, Forsyth County stepped up in a big way. We had literally hundreds, if not thousands, of citizens asking how they can help.”
Jiwani has cooperated with authorities thus far. She has been charged with multiple crimes, including reckless abandonment, first-degree cruelty to children, aggravated assault, and attempt to commit murder. This case is currently pending in court.