RICHMOND HILL, NY -- Prosecutors say a Queens mother accused of killing her newborn by throwing him out a fourth-floor window told authorities an evil spirit had taken over the boy.
Rashida Chowdhury, 21, is being held without bail after her arrest late last week in the death of her 20-day-old son, Rizwan.
According to a criminal complaint, Chowdhury tossed the baby out of the bathroom window into the courtyard on her 115th Street building in the Richmond Hill section around 4 a.m. on August 7.
Chowdhury initially told detectives that she had been asleep in the bed with her son and awoke to discover he was gone, but she later admitted she threw him out the window, police said. She said that he had been possessed by an evil spirit and had been sick recently, and she was "stopping the pain," according to court papers.
The baby had been hospitalized for three days with a viral infection, but had been discharged the day before his death and was recovering, officials said. He appeared to be in good health otherwise..
Investigators were trying to determine whether Chowdhury suffered from postpartum depression but no clinical diagnoses had been made.
She is been charged with second-degree murder.
"Four o'clock in the morning, I step out and I heard something fall out the window, like a book," building resident Mazol Ilyayeva said. "I go downstairs into the courtyard, and I see the baby on the floor, just blood everywhere, and just like a puppy dead."
Ilyayeva called 911.
"As I'm sleeping, I wake up to the noise of people just running up and down the stairs," neighbor Taylor Russea said. "Lights are flashing outside my window. My dog is barking."
Chowdhury initially was taken to Jamaica Medical Center Friday for observation, but she was arrested and charged Saturday morning. Police also questioned the 40-year-old father.
An autopsy on the infant revealed that he died of blunt impact of the head and torso, with skull fractures and lacerations of brain, liver and spleen. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. Police said the baby didn't fall by himself.
And while Russea heard the aftermath, his brother overheard noises minutes before the infant was thrown.
"We live right below them," he said. "So he heard a huge tantrum of a kid crying, and just running up and down, that's all he heard."
The Administration for Children's Services is also investigating. Two other children, ages 3 and 8, live in the apartment, but it's unclear where they are staying now.