Mom holding baby falls from window in Harlem - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

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>>

  • Broadway preview: 'It's Only a Play'

    Broadway preview: 'It's Only a Play'

    Thursday, August 28 2014 6:12 PM EDT2014-08-28 22:12:00 GMT
    Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, and Megan Mullally are just some of the names heading back to Broadway. Legendary playwright and four-time tony winner Terrence McNally leads the all-star cast in the new Broadway play appropriately titled It's Only a Play.
    Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, and Megan Mullally are just some of the names heading back to Broadway. Legendary playwright and four-time tony winner Terrence McNally leads the all-star cast in the new Broadway play appropriately titled It's Only a Play.
  • Mayor pushes back pre-k concerns

    Mayor pushes back pre-k concerns

    Thursday, August 28 2014 5:16 PM EDT2014-08-28 21:16:48 GMT
    Mayor Bill de Blasio, educators and city leaders gathered at p.s. 307 in Brooklyn on Thursday to talk with pride about more than 50,000 kids who have enrolled in pre-kindergarten. Universal full-day pre-k was a platform of his campaign when he ran for mayor.Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina also feels the pre-k program is ready for launch.
    Mayor Bill de Blasio, educators and city leaders gathered at p.s. 307 in Brooklyn on Thursday to talk with pride about more than 50,000 kids who have enrolled in pre-kindergarten. Universal full-day pre-k was a platform of his campaign when he ran for mayor.Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina also feels the pre-k program is ready for launch.
  • Joan Rivers rushed to NYC hospital

    Joan Rivers rushed to NYC hospital

    Thursday, August 28 2014 2:34 PM EDT2014-08-28 18:34:49 GMT
    Joan Rivers was reportedly rushed to a hospital in New York City Thursday morning after she stopped breathing during a throat surgery.  The TV host and comedian was apparently undergoing the procedure in a clinic when she stopped breathing.
    Joan Rivers was reportedly rushed to a hospital in New York City Thursday morning after she stopped breathing during a throat surgery.  The TV host and comedian was apparently undergoing the procedure in a clinic when she stopped breathing.
Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

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