It was about 8:30 p.m. on a smoldering hot June day in Cummings, Georgia, when Alan Ragatz and his four daughters arrived home. Readying for bed, Alan locked the doors and was about to crank up the air conditioning when he was alerted by his three teenaged daughters, who said they heard a “strange cry” coming from inside the woods bordering their house.
Ragatz told The Florida-Times Union that one of his girls said, “Dad, we hear a baby.”
Puzzled by the cries and refusing to accept it was an animal, the daughters grabbed some flashlights and trailed the cries.
Soon after they returned, pleading with their dad to follow.
“You would hear it and then it would muffle up, and as we walked down it got a little more clear,” he said.
Then, the family made a heartbreaking discovery.
“We found a, looked like a bathmat that was all wrapped up, and by the time we got to it and opened the bathmat, it was a little baby, in (what) looked like a Publix bag tied,” Ragatz said of the baby, who covered in blood, was dumped on a pile of leaves and sticks. “She still had her umbilical cord and part of the placenta.”
One of the daughters, Kayla, told the news, that it was “terrifying” and “scary,” prompting panic and tears from Alan and her siblings.
“Once we found her, my girls were in shock and it was an emotional deal and everyone was upset,” said Ragatz, who called the baby a “fighter.” “We don’t cast judgment on whoever did this. We know there are issues in society but there’s better ways than this.”
Calling 911, Forsyth County officials arrived and located the baby, who was still very much alive.
Sheriff Ron Freeman said the baby girl, nicknamed India, was born at full term and it’s believed she was born the day before she was found.
Immediately starting its search to locate the suspect responsible for abandoning the newborn, Police released a (disturbing) bodycam video, that shows the bag being ripped open, then the tiny baby crying, clutching the finger of one of the officers.
At the time police had no information on India’s mother, nor did they know where she was from. The video was shared, hoping it would answer some questions and provide “credible information on the identity of Baby India and to show how important it is to find closure in this case.”
Later, it was revealed by Forsyth County that Baby India was “thriving and is in the care of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services,” while thousands of people around the world, reached out, wanting to adopt the baby.
“It’s amazing the number of people who are looking to take on a new life into their families,” Sheriff Freeman said, “and we got somebody who tried to throw one away.”
After tirelessly searching for clues on Baby India’s identity, police reported in May 2023 that the mother Karima Jawani, 40, of Atlanta was arrested.
Addressing the media in a press conference, Freeman said, “Four years ago, I said in this room, and I told you, we will bring this person to justice…Little did I know it was going to take four years.”
Freeman explained that investigators had a breakthrough when “advanced DNA practices” helped identify Baby India’s biological father.
Once that was done, investigators then had to find out who was responsible for leaving the baby in the woods. It was also said that evidence suggests the baby was born in the car and driven for a “significant amount of time” by the suspect–Jiwani–who made “no effort to leave this child” in a place she could be found.
Freeman added that family and friends said that Jiwani allegedly has a “history of hidden and concealed pregnancies and surprise births,” and that there’s no evidence the father was aware of either the pregnancy or the abandonment of (the) baby.”
“This child was tied up in a plastic bag and thrown into the woods like a bag of trash. I can’t understand that,” Freeman said. “It literally is one of the saddest things I have ever seen.”
Jiwani, held without bond, faces criminal attempt to commit murder, cruelty to children in the first degree, aggravated assault, and reckless abandonment charges.
Freeman stressed there are legal options available to help parents who are unable or unwilling to care for a baby.
Under the nationwide Safe-Haven law (Baby Moses law in some states), a mother can anonymously leave their newborn babies–under 30 days–at a hospital, fire station or police department without criminal charges.
According to the National Safe Haven Alliance in 2021, 22 of 31 illegally abandoned babies were found deceased, and 33 were rescued by the agency in the same year.
“When a biological parent wouldn’t do what they’re supposed to do, Forsyth County surrounded this little girl with love, care and prayers and lifted her up the way it’s supposed to be,” Freeman said adding that Baby India is now “happy, healthy and in a safe place.”
Baby India is blessed to have been found by the Ragatz family, who saved her life. For a mother to discard of her innocent baby like that is horrifying and we are so happy that Karima Jiwani is facing charges for what she’s done. What do you think of this story?