TRENTON – A Galloway Township man has been charged with kidnapping and attempted murder, among other offenses, after he allegedly abducted his infant daughter in East Orange yesterday. Police received information that he threw the baby from the Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway, said Acting Attorney General Paula T. Dow.
A search to locate the missing 3-month old, Zara Malani-lin Abdur, is continuing in the area of the bridge over the Raritan River in Sayreville, according to State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes. The search began last evening.
Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor reported that the father, Shamsiddi Abdur-Raheem, 21, of Galloway Township, has been charged by the East Orange Police Department with kidnapping (1st degree), attempted murder (1st degree), two counts of aggravated assault (2nd degree), and endangering the welfare of a child (2nd degree). Abdur-Raheem will be lodged in the Essex County Jail in lieu of $700,000 bail. It is anticipated that he will be arraigned on the charges tomorrow in Superior Court in Essex County.
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. The infant’s mother has custody of the child and obtained a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem yesterday. Shortly after 4 p.m. yesterday, 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, according to authorities.
The grandmother followed Abdur-Raheem outside and got in front of his vehicle, a Dodge Caravan, in an attempt to stop him, according to authorities. Abdur-Raheem allegedly attempted to run the grandmother over, striking her and driving away with the baby. The alleged attack was reported to the East Orange Police, who issued a bulletin to all law enforcement regarding the child. The grandmother was taken to University Hospital, where she was treated and later released, authorities said.
Abdur-Raheem was arrested by Winslow Township Police at a family member’s residence in Winslow Township after the family member called police shortly after 8 p.m. last night to report that Abdur-Raheem was at the house, according to authorities. After police received information that Abdur-Raheem allegedly threw the infant from the bridge, the State Police immediately commenced a search in the area of the bridge.
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, authorities said.
The missing infant was reported to be wearing a pink and gray Carter’s onesie and may have been wrapped in a blue sleeping bag. If any member of the public has information regarding the infant or this case, authorities urge them to report it confidentially by calling the State Police hotline 1-732-264-4150.
The ongoing search has included members of the New Jersey State Police Marine, Aviation and Canine Units, authorities said. The water search has involved two vessels from the State Police Marine Unit, as well as one boat from each of the following agencies: Jersey City Police Department, Union County Police Department, Perth Amboy Fire Department, Newark Fire Department, New York City Police Department and U.S. Coast Guard.
The investigation has been conducted by the New Jersey State Police, East Orange Police Department, Winslow Township Police Department, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and Division of Criminal Justice. The case will be prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice.
The kidnapping charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in state prison, while 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.
Photo courtesy of the NJ Attorney General’s Office
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