TRENTON – DNA testing has confirmed that the infant found on the bank of the Raritan River on April 24 is Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem, who had been missing since Feb. 16, when her biological father allegedly threw her from the Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway, Attorney General Paula T. Dow announced today.
Baby Zara was found by people walking on the south bank of the river on the morning of April 24, just east of the Route 35 Victory Bridge. The clothing and wrappings in which she was found were consistent with descriptions given to police on Feb. 16.
Shamsiddin Abdur-Raheem, 21, of Galloway Township, has been charged by complaint with murder, a first-degree offense that carries a sentence of 30 years to life in state prison, according to Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor. The next phase of the case is to present the allegations and charges against the father to a state grand jury for potential indictment.
According to the complaint filed in Superior Court in Middlesex County, Abdur-Raheem allegedly caused the death of Zara on Feb. 16 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.
In addition, Abdur-Raheem was 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 and two counts of aggravated assault.
Abdur-Raheem is being held in the Essex County Jail, with bail set at $2.7 million. The charges against him are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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