In the early hours of Aug. 7, 3-week-old Rizwan Ahmad was thrown from the fourth floor of of an apartment in Queens, New York. According to Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the city’s medical examiner, an autopsy revealed the infant had died of blunt impact injuries and suffered from skull fractures and lacerations to the brain, liver and spleen.
Now, Rashida Chowdhury, the infant’s 21-year-old mother has been charged with murder, NY Daily News reported.
Chowdhury told investigators that she believed her son was possessed by Jinn, a supernatural creature in Islamic theology and Middle Eastern folklore. The baby’s father, Muhamed Ahmed, said he woke up to Chowdhury asking him where the baby was, CBS New York reported.
“This a truly horrific and disturbing case of a mother accused of killing her helpless infant son,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “He fell more than 40 feet to the pavement and died. The alleged actions of the defendant are totally incomprehensible.”
However, Chowdhury’s belief that her son was possessed may be less based in her religious convictions and more rooted in her mental health. Though authorities have not disclosed any information about Chowdhury’s mental state, investigators are reportedly looking into the matter. “I heard the mom is mentally ill,” said family friend Khan Kamal, 28. “The mom wouldn’t do this unless she was sick in the head.”
Though Kamal is presumably not qualified to be making an assessment of Chowdhury’s mental state, the journal of Transcultural Psychiatry published a research paper earlier this year that linked belief in Jinn’s presence to psychosis.