Infant Survives 8-Story Fall after Mom Cynthia Wachenheim Jumps from NYC Apartment Window
A 10-month-old infant survived falling from an 8th-story New York apartment window when his mother committed suicide on Wednesday.
Cynthia Wachenheim, 45, was holding her son Keston in her arms when she jumped from the window of her apartment on Bradhurst Avenue in Harlem at around 3:30 p.m. Wachenheim, who was an attorney and a graduate of the prestigious Columbia Law School, was pronounced dead at the scene. Keston was rushed to Harlem Hospital where he is listed in critical but stable condition, according to FDNY sources.
“I heard a small scream when she was in the air, and then I heard a nasty bang,” 18-year-old witness Steven Dominguez told DNAinfo. “It sounded like a big piece of wood hitting the ground.”
Steven’s mother, 45-year-old Adelina Dominguez, rushed to the injured infant in an attempt to help him.
“I saw the baby on the ground and I tried to pick it up, to comfort it, but the police told me not to,” she told DNAinfo.
The New York Daily News reports that Wachenheim left a 13-page suicide note in which she wrote to her husband, 48-year-old Hal Bacharach, that she loved him and that “I’m making you suffer. You’re going to think I’m evil.”
Bacharach was at work at the time his wife committed suicide.
Wachenheim reportedly claimed to be suffering from postpartum depression in the letter. A police source told the Daily News that she was taking prescription antidepressants, which were found in the apartment.
Police also said that Wachenheim believed that her son suffered from cerebral palsy, although doctors assured her there was nothing wrong with him.
Neighbors and co-workers described Wachenheim as a “wonderful” and “friendly” woman devoted to her work and her family.
“She was wonderful– very devoted to the court and wonderful with everyone she worked with,” chief court clerk John Werner, Wachenheim’s boss, told the Daily News. “It’s a tragedy.”
“She was very friendly,” neighbor Yaa Dwamena, 32, added. “She always greeted you when you came in and out of the building. She didn’t seem like she was going through anything.”
“They looked like a really happy family,” Dwamena told DNAinfo. “I never would have thought she would be dead.”