Updated Tuesday, Aug. 11, 11:10 a.m.
The mother of a 3-week-old boy whose body was found in a Richmond Hill apartment building’s courtyard last week has been charged with murder after allegedly throwing the child out a four-story window because she believed an evil spirit had taken over the boy’s body.
Rashida Chowdhury, 21, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and intentional murder of a victim less than 11 years old, the NYPD announced Saturday.
A witness told authorities that just before 4 a.m. she had heard an unusual noise like a “thump” coming from the courtyard at 85-55 115th St., according to court documents. The witness then went to the lobby area of the building, looked through a window to the courtyard and saw a baby lying on the cement floor unresponsive and with an apparent injury to the head. She then called 911.
Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to the 911 call at 85-55 115th St. at about 4:06 a.m. on Aug. 7, according to police. Upon arriving, they found the baby, Rizwan Ahmad, unconscious and unresponsive. Emergency medical personnel also responded and pronounced the infant dead at the scene.
During their investigation, authorities observed an open window on the fourth floor of the building and determined it to be the baby’s apartment, court documents said. The height from the window to the courtyard floor was determined to be about 42 feet high.
While being questioned, the child’s mother— who lived in the apartment with her 40-year-old husband and other family members — said she woke up between 3:30 and 4 a.m. and took Rizwan from the bed and went into the bathroom, according to the criminal complaint. While she was alone in the bathroom with the baby she said she tossed him out of the bathroom window.
According to court records, Chowdhury said that an evil spirit had taken over her infant son, who had recently been sick, and she was “stopping the pain.”
“This is a truly horrific and disturbing case of a mother accused of killing her helpless 3-week-old infant son by tossing him out of a window, where he fell more than 40 feet to the pavement and died,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The alleged actions of the defendant are totally incomprehensible. She now faces serious charges that could lead to her spending the rest of her life behind bars if convicted.”
After performing an autopsy on the boy, the medical examiner classified the death as a homicide and said the baby died of a blunt impact of the head and torso with skull fractures and lacerations of brain, liver and spleen, according to court records.
Chowdhury was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court and is being held without bail. She has also been placed on suicide watch and is scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 10.
If convicted on her charges, Chowdhury faces up to 25 years to life in prison.