Baby survives mother’s eight-storey suicide leap

By Sandy Rashty, March 18, 2013

A Jewish lawyer from New York jumped out of an eight-storey building in Harlem with her 10-month-old son strapped to her body last Wednesday afternoon.

Ms Wachenheim, a law graduate from Columbia University, who was on maternity leave, mistakenly believed her son had a developmental disability for which she was responsible.

The 44-year-old, who was seeking to commit suicide and simultaneously end the life of her son, died when she hit the ground but her son survived because she landed on her back, shielding him from the impact. He escaped with a bruised cheek according to a report in the New York Times.

According to the report, Ms Wachenheim left behind a 13-page suicide note, saying she believed that her son was brain damaged after two falls, which she reportedly described as “two shameful incidents”. She reportedly said family members and the paediatrician did not believe her but she believed Keston was crying and sleeping more often.

Ms Wachenheim, 44, attended B’nai Jeshurun synagogue on the Upper West Side. She married her 48-year-old husband Hal Bacharach in 2009, was a coordinator for a Harlem tutoring programme and had worked at a law office in Pakistan, specialising in women’s rights and “honour killings”.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed with grief,” Mr Bacharach reportedly told the New York Times. “I have my son, who was lucky enough to survive, on my lap. It’s unbelievable – right now, my crying son is in my arms.”

According to a report on the Daily Mail website, Elizabeth Nowicki, a university friend, described Ivy League Ms Wachenheim as a “very gentle, quiet, loving, kind woman. She was both brilliant and rational.”

Last updated: 5:26pm, March 18 2013