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February 25, 10

NEWS / Murder Charge Filed Against Father who Allegedly Threw Infant Daughter from Bridge on Garden State P


TRENTON – The Galloway Township man who allegedly threw his infant daughter from the Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway on Feb. 16 was charged with murder today, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced.

According to Director Taylor, the Division of Criminal Justice filed a complaint charging Shamsiddin Abdur-Raheem, 21, of Galloway Township, with murder. The complaint was filed in Superior Court in Middlesex County. The first-degree charge carries a sentence of 30 years to life in state prison.

“We have charged the father with murder after obtaining evidence and information corroborating initial reports that he threw the baby from the bridge,” said Attorney General Dow. “While our ongoing exhaustive search has not located the victim, we are moving forward with our investigation and our pursuit of justice in this tragic case of domestic violence.”

According to the complaint filed in court, Abdur-Raheem allegedly caused the death of the infant, Zara Malani-lin Abdur, while parked on the southbound shoulder of the Garden State Parkway on the Driscoll Bridge in Woodbridge Township. He allegedly pushed or threw the victim from the front passenger window of his Dodge Caravan into the Raritan River.

“This is now a murder case,” said Director Taylor. “We continue to urge any member of the public who may have information about this crime to contact the Division of Criminal Justice or the State Police through our confidential tip lines.”

Abdur-Raheem was previously charged in Essex County with kidnapping and attempted murder, both first-degree offenses, for allegedly abducting the infant from the apartment of her maternal grandmother in East Orange. He was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child (2nd degree) and two counts of aggravated assault (2nd degree).

Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa, Presiding Criminal Part Judge in Middlesex County, set bail for Abdur-Raheem at $2 million on the murder charge and is scheduling a first appearance for the defendant. Abdur-Raheem is being held in the Essex County Jail.

The murder charge was filed by Deputy Attorneys General Andrew C. Fried and Paul Salvatoriello of the Division of Criminal Justice, and Detectives Harry McDermott and Timothy P. Coyle of the New Jersey State Police.

The infant was in the care of her 60-year-old maternal grandmother in an apartment in East Orange at the time of the alleged abduction on Feb. 16. The infant’s mother had custody of the child and obtained a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem that same day. Shortly after 4 p.m., Abdur-Raheem allegedly forced his way into the grandmother’s apartment, struck the grandmother in the face and choked her. Abdur-Raheem allegedly took the infant girl.

The grandmother followed Abdur-Raheem outside and got in front of his vehicle in an attempt to stop him. Abdur-Raheem allegedly tried to run the grandmother over, striking her. That is the basis for the attempted murder charge filed previously. He then drove away with the baby.

Abdur-Raheem was arrested that night at a family member’s home in Winslow Township after the family member called police shortly after 8 p.m. to report that Abdur-Raheem was at the house. Police received information at that time that Abdur-Raheem allegedly threw the infant from the bridge, and the State Police immediately commenced an intensive search.

Before his arrest, Abdur-Raheem had gone to see his imam, his Islamic religious leader, in Atlantic City, and the imam drove him to the home of the relative who called police.

The missing infant was reported to be wearing a green Carter’s onesie and may have been wrapped in a blue sleeping bag.

The investigation has been conducted by the New Jersey State Police, Division of Criminal Justice, East Orange Police Department, Winslow Township Police Department, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. The case will be prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice.

The kidnapping charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in state prison, and the attempted murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison. Second-degree charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases10/pr20100224b.html

 




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