It is a story that will be labeled miraculous while at the same time being tagged tragic, the amazing account of how a 10-month-old baby strapped to his mother's chest survived a fall of 80 feet onto concrete after his 44-year-old mother decided to commit suicide using the cold and unyielding sidewalk as her agent. And yet both parts of the tale are true: It was a miracle born of tragic circumstances.
CNN reported Thursday (March 14) that a New York woman, a lawyer who would later be identified as Cynthia Wachenheim, had left behind a suicide note after reportedly arguing with a man in her apartment. That note turned out to be 13 pages long.
In the note, a source told the New York Times, Wachenheim claimed there had been “two shameful incidents” where the infant, Keston, had fallen off the bed and off a play set. She blamed herself for both and believed that the falls had irreparably damaged the child for life.
She wrote that what she was about to do was an "evil" act.
Then she placed the baby into a carrier strapped to her chest and leaped.
Steven Dominguez saw the entire incident.
“The baby bounced off her chest onto the floor, face down and was crying," Dominguez recounted to WPIX, a CNN affiliate. "My mother tried to pick up the baby, but there was already a detective there, and it was his responsibility after that. Yeah, I wish I never witnessed that. But I wish I nobody ever has to witness that. It’s disturbing, and horrible."
Remarkably, the baby survived with only minor bruises.
A neighbor, Christian Johnson, said that he had heard an argument in Wachenheim's apartment when he arrived home earlier that day. He overheard the voices of a man and woman yelling at each other. The man kept asking "why."
"I actually stopped to listen," he told WPIX, "and I heard screaming and the baby was crying. He just kept saying why wouldn't you pick up the phone, why would you put that stress on me? Why wouldn't you pick up the phone, why, why? He was screaming, 'why, why'?"
It isn't difficult to imagine that the man might still be asking the same question...