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Miracle Baby Survives 8-Story Fall in Manhattan

Update Date: Mar 14, 2013 06:32 PM EDT
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A woman plunged to her death from an eight-story window in New York, in what appears to be a suicide. Her 10-month-old baby, who the woman clutched in her arms, survived the fall. He is now in critical but stable condition, though police now say that he survived with just a few scratches and minor injuries.

Cynthia Wachenheim was a graduate of Columbia University's law school. She worked in the state's Supreme Court in Manhattan, where she performed legal research for judges. Neighbors described the 45-year-old as very friendly and warm, and said that the family seemed happy.

Nevertheless, the New York Daily News reports that police found a 13-page suicide note beneath a bed in the apartment that Wachenheim shared with her husband in West Harlem. She wrote that what she was about to do was wrong, and that she was a bad mother, but that she was deeply concerned about the development of the child. The baby, was an only child, had been determined to be fine by police, but Ms. Wachenheim was convinced that he had cerebral palsy.

Surveillance footage found that the woman's husband had left the apartment an hour prior to the incident, according to the Associated Press. Police found the window in the eighth-floor apartment wide open. It had no safety rails to prevent the woman's jump. There was no evidence of a struggle inside the apartment.

One resident of the neighborhood witnessed the event on a walk to the grocery store with his mother. He said that the baby bounced against Ms. Wachenheim's body, which likely cushioned the infant's fall, before hitting the ground by his mother. The police found the mother and son like that, close to one another, on the ground.

Her note mentioned postpartum depression. A recent report found that 1 in 7 women suffered from the condition.

"We are all deeply saddened about this tragic incident," state courts spokesman David Bookstaver said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with Ms. Wachenheim's family."

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