Mom holding baby falls from window in Harlem - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mom holding baby plunges from Harlem window

Posted: Updated:

By COLLEEN LONG and DEEPTI HAJELA

NEW YORK (AP) — A woman clutching her baby son in her arms plunged eight stories out of an apartment window to her death in an apparent suicide on Wednesday, but the baby survived, police said.

Cynthia Wachenheim was found on the street with her son, 10-month-old Keston, near her arms. A police officer who responded took the baby to a hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.

Police discovered a seven-page suicide note under a bed in the apartment Wachenheim shared with her husband. In the note, the 45-year-old Wachenheim said she recognized what she was about to do was "evil" but she was concerned about how her child was developing, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

It was unclear whether the baby, who neighbors said was an only child, had any mental or physical problems.

A window to the West Harlem apartment was wide open, and there were no signs of struggle inside, police said. There were no safety bars on the apartment's windows. Surveillance footage showed Wachenheim's husband leaving the apartment about an hour before her plunge from the window with the baby.

Area resident Steven Dominguez, 18, was walking to a grocery store with his mother, Adelina Dominguez, when he saw the woman fall. He said the baby bounced off her body, breaking some of the impact of the fall, before hitting the ground nearby.

"I heard a scream like a yell," Dominguez said. "When I got closer, I saw the baby crying."

He said the baby was face down.

"I was shocked," he said. "I couldn't believe it."

Dominguez said his mother went to pick up the baby but an emergency response person told her to stand back.

The apartment is in a relatively new building facing Jackie Robinson Park. A crowd of onlookers had gathered nearby Wednesday afternoon, awaiting the medical examiner's office, which would determine the official cause of the woman's death.

Resident Yaa Dwamena, 32, said she's lived in the building for several years and as long as she's been there she's seen Wachenheim.

"She was very nice, very friendly, very warm," Dwamena said.

She said that the last time she saw Wachenheim was last week.

"I wouldn't have thought anything was wrong with her," she said. "They were a happy-looking family. I wouldn't think anything like this would happen."

Wachenheim went to law school at Columbia University, and her father was a state police spokesman before his death in 2011. She worked in state Supreme Court in Manhattan doing legal research for judges but was out on leave, court officials said.

"We are all deeply saddened about this tragic incident," state courts spokesman David Bookstaver said. "Our thoughts are with Ms. Wachenheim's family."

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki to run New York City Marathon

    Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:42:50 GMT
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
  • 5 annoying things about the New York City subway

    5 annoying things about the New York City subway

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:55:21 GMT
    Subway problems are annoying, but it’s just a part of living in New York City. Public transportation isn’t glamorous. It’s a pain. It’s a convenience that can cause an inconvenience. Here is a list of five annoying things about the subway system.
    Subway problems are annoying, but it’s just a part of living in New York City. Public transportation isn’t glamorous. It’s a pain. It’s a convenience that can cause an inconvenience. Here is a list of five annoying things about the subway system.
  • US issues travel warning over Ebola

    US issues travel warning over Ebola

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:22:47 GMT
    U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history.  The travel advisory applies to non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
    U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history.  The travel advisory applies to non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices