“Animal” Abused Missing Baby for Months: Police

A 7-month-old baby boy, who investigators fear is dead after a man allegedly stated that he killed the child, was also abused for months by the "animal," according to police.

The suspect, 31-year-old Ummad Rushdi, is accused of abusing and kidnapping little Hamza Ali.

The child is the son of Rushdi’s girlfriend, 19-year-old Zainab Gaal. Investigators say the couple had been with about three weeks.

Ali was taken from a home Upper Darby, Pa. by said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood. Police believe Rushdi murdered the baby and disposed of his body somewhere near the Lancaster-York County line Sunday.

 “I believe he killed the baby over three months and toured that baby,” said Chitwood. “The baby would cry, he would lock him in the car. The baby would cry he would put him in the woods behind the house and if the mom tried to interfere, she would get wacked…she would take a beating.”

An affidavit released Thursday states that Rushdi told his brother that he killed the crying infant before burying him in an undisclosed location.

Police say Rushdi told Jawwad Rushdi, 32, on Monday that the baby’s killing occurred in a suburban Philadelphia home a day earlier, the warrant said.

The suspect said that he shook the crying baby and that the infant then became unconscious, according to the affidavit.

“Jawwad stated that Ummad told him that he attempted CPR, but was unable to revive Hamza,” police wrote in the affidavit. “Ummad further advised Jawwad that he took the child from the residence and buried him, but did not tell him where.”

The warrant sought the child, blood or DNA evidence and any digging tools from Ummad Rushdi's home in a suburban development outside York, Pa. A search dog was used to comb areas outside the home, including a soybean field beyond the backyard.

“Realistically, the baby could be anywhere between here and Delaware County,” said York Area Regional Police Sgt. Jeffry Dunbar.

Gaal told police that Ummad Rushdi and her son left the home in Upper Darby in Delaware County early Sunday, and that he did not have permission to take the boy.

Police were at the York home searching Thursday, one day after they spent several hours fruitlessly looking for any sign of the child in a wooded area along the Susquehanna River in Columbia, east of York. That is near where Rushdi's car had apparently become disabled.

Police in central Pa, with the help of the FBI, searched for the child with a cadaver dog off Route 30 in Columbia, Lancaster County, where Rushdi's car was found abandoned.

Investigators say at the time of arrest, Rushdi had a knife, handcuffs and $800 in cash. He also had a criminal record including serving probation in Philadelphia after being found guilty last year of making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct, according to court records.

He also was found guilty of disorderly conduct and defiant trespass for a 2011 incident in York County, according to court records.

Rushdi is charged with kidnapping, recklessly endangering another person, among other charges and remained jailed Friday unable to post $750,000 bail, according to court records.

Court officials said Thursday that Rushdi was not yet represented by a lawyer.

“His face was completely white, like he was spooked or something,” Darryl Heverling said. Heverling offered him some leftover hamburger casserole, but he turned it down.

“It was really disturbing,” Heverling said. “He said something about meditating and people with guilty consciences and clearing his mind.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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