Four years have passed since a newborn baby was callously stuffed into a yellow grocery bag and callously discarded in the woods, treated “like a bag of trash.” However, justice finally caught up with the mother responsible, who now faces multiple criminal charges, including attempted murder.
In 2019, a miraculous rescue unfolded when a family living near Cummings, Georgia, heard the desperate cries of Baby India emanating from the woods adjacent to their home. Covered in placenta and blood, the baby had been callously abandoned in a tied bag, her umbilical cord still attached.
It was a scorching June evening around 8:30 p.m. when Alan Ragatz and his four daughters returned home, preparing for bedtime rituals. As Alan was about to turn on the air conditioning, his teenage daughters alerted him to a peculiar cry echoing from the nearby woods.
“Dad, we hear a baby,” one of his daughters said, leaving Alan perplexed. Convinced it was not an animal and determined to investigate further, the daughters armed themselves with flashlights and followed the distressing cries. Moments later, they returned, pleading with their father to join them.
“At first, the cry was faint and muffled, but as we ventured closer, it became clearer,” Alan recalled.
What they stumbled upon was a heart-wrenching sight. Unwrapping what appeared to be a bundled bathmat, they discovered a fragile baby, abandoned like refuse, inside what seemed to be a tied Publix bag. The baby, covered in blood, had been callously dumped on a pile of leaves and sticks. Astonishingly, she still retained her umbilical cord and a part of the placenta.
One of the daughters, named Kayla, described the experience as “terrifying” and “scary,” leaving Alan and his other children in a state of panic and tears.
“After finding her, my girls were in shock. It was an emotional ordeal, and everyone was deeply upset,” expressed Alan, acknowledging the baby’s resilience. “We do not pass judgment on whoever did this. We understand that societal issues exist, but there are better ways to address them.”
The family immediately contacted the authorities, and Forsyth County officials swiftly arrived to rescue the baby girl, nicknamed India, who remarkably remained alive. Sheriff Ron Freeman disclosed that India was born at full term and was believed to be only a day old when discovered.
Launching an extensive investigation to locate the perpetrator behind this heinous act, the police released a distressing bodycam footage depicting the bag being torn open, revealing the tiny baby within, crying and clutching the finger of one of the officers.
At the time, the police possessed no information regarding India’s mother or her origins. The video was disseminated in the hope of gathering vital details and uncovering the identity of Baby India, emphasizing the significance of achieving closure in this case.
Subsequently, Forsyth County authorities disclosed that Baby India was “flourishing” and under the care of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services. Thousands of individuals worldwide expressed their willingness to adopt the baby, underscoring the immense compassion for giving her a loving home.
Sheriff Freeman highlighted the stark contrast between those who sought to throw away a life and those eagerly looking to embrace a new one: “It’s remarkable how many people are eager to welcome a new life into their families, and yet we have somebody who tried to discard one.”
After relentless efforts to unearth Baby India’s identity, the police reported in May 2023 that they had apprehended the mother, Karima Jawani, a 40-year-old resident of Atlanta.
During a press conference, Sheriff Freeman addressed the media, stating, “Four years ago, in this very room, I promised that we would bring this individual to justice…Little did I know it would take four years.”
Freeman explained that investigators made a breakthrough through advanced DNA techniques, enabling them to identify Baby India’s biological father. This crucial discovery led them to focus on determining the individual responsible for abandoning the baby in the woods. Evidence suggested that Jiwani, the suspect, had given birth in a car and subsequently drove for a significant period, deliberately failing to leave the child in a location where she could be found.
Additionally, family and friends indicated that Jiwani had a history of concealed pregnancies and unexpected births, with no evidence suggesting the father was aware of the pregnancy or the subsequent abandonment.
Sheriff Freeman expressed his disbelief at the chilling act: “This child was tied up in a plastic bag and thrown into the woods like a bag of trash. I can’t comprehend it. It’s truly one of the saddest things I have ever witnessed.”
Jiwani, currently held without bond, faces several charges, including attempted murder, first-degree cruelty to children, aggravated assault, and reckless abandonment.
Sheriff Freeman emphasized that legal options are available to parents who find themselves unable or unwilling to care for a baby. Nationwide Safe-Haven laws, also known as the Baby Moses law in some states, allow mothers to anonymously leave newborn babies under 30 days old at hospitals, fire stations, or police departments without facing criminal charges.
According to the National Safe Haven Alliance’s data from 2021, out of 31 illegally abandoned babies, 22 were found deceased, while the agency managed to rescue 33 infants that same year.
“When biological parents fail to fulfill their responsibilities, Forsyth County surrounds these little ones with love, care, and prayers, providing them with the support they deserve,” stated Sheriff Freeman, affirming that Baby India is now in a “happy, healthy, and secure environment.”