Cynthia Wachenheim was found on the street with her son, 10-month-old Keston, near her arms. A police officer that responded took the baby to a hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.
An FDNY spokesperson tells us the incident happened around 3:30 p.m. on Bradhurst Avenue, near W. 147th Street. The 45-year-old mother was dead at the scene. Police discovered a seven-page suicide note under a bed in the apartment Wachenheim shared with her husband. In the note. 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.
Police did not immediately release details on how many stories the woman and baby fell or the identity of the woman. It was unclear whether the baby, who neighbors said was an only child, had any mental or physical problems.
“Baby survives 8 story fall after mom jumps out window in Harlem clutching him. Baby landed on top of her and rolled over was crying.”
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.
Police sources told the Times, “Looks like a suicide,” and “an official source” also told the Daily News a similar thing, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. An anonymous source told us that a man may have pushed the woman out the window and then shot himself, but we haven’t been able to confirm those details yet either.
Resident Yaa Dwamena, 32-years-old, 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.”
Another resident Steven Dominguez, 18-years-old, 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.”
“We are all deeply saddened about this tragic incident,” state courts spokesman David Bookstaver said. “Our thoughts are with Ms. Wachenheim’s family.”
Investigators were seeking to determine if the woman leapt from the building in a suicide.