Worst Feared for Baby Thrown Off Bridge

Baby's 21-year-old father, a criminal justice student, says he did it.

Police, boats, helicopters, and dogs are still searching for 3-month-old Zara Malani-Lin Abdur, the infant who was allegedly thrown off a Garden State Parkway bridge by her father Tuesday night.

Shamsiddin Abdur-Raheem, 21, of Galloway Township, N.J., told police that he wrapped his daughter in a blue sleeping bag and threw her off the Driscoll Bridge into Raritan River.

Zara’s 60-year-old grandmother was babysitting the child Tuesday evening when Abdur-Raheem forced his way into her East Orange apartment, assaulted her, took the baby and then hit the grandmother with his car while he drove away, according to police. The grandmother was treated and released from a local hospital.

Right after Abdur-Raheem dumped his daughter in the river, he stopped to see his Imam, his Islamic spiritual leader, in Atlantic City, police said. The Imam drove the 21-year-old to his father’s house and Abdur-Raheem’s father, Mushim Raheem called the police.

“That baby was innocent she didn’t do no harm to anybody,” Mushim Raheem told NBC Philadelphia. “I’m praying for a miracle.”

Winslow Township Police arrested Abdur-Raheem at his father’s house not long after the grandmother reported the assault and abduction 8 p.m. Tuesday, and a police bulletin was released.

Abdur-Raheem did not have custody of Zara and is not married to the baby’s mother. The infant’s mother, Venetta Benjamin, had recently filed for a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem.

Abdur-Raheem, whose Facebook page says that he’s studying criminal justice at Stockton College, has the “Goal of becoming an attorney!”  and worked as an intern for the U.S. Attorney General’s Office from January 2009 to April 2009, was arrested on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Self-described as “laid back, but outgoing” on his Facebook page, Abdur-Raheem lists this quotation among his favorites:

“Watch your actions, they become you character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

Baby Zara was wearing a pink and gray Carter’s onesie, and allegedly wrapped in a blue sleeping bag. If you have any information call the state police at 732-264-4150.

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