Cynthia Wachenheim: 5 Things To Know About Mother Whose Baby Fell Eight Stories In Her Arms
Cynthia Wachenheim, the mother of the baby who fell eight stories from a Harlem apartment building while in her arms and strapped to a harness on Wednesday in what appeared to be an attempted suicide, was pronounced dead at the scene in front of The Sutton at West 147th Street around 3:30 p.m. ET.
The death of Wachenheim surprised many witnesses and neighbors, who said that she and her family seemed to be happy and stable. Luckily, Wachenheim's 10-month-old son Keston, the baby who fell eight stories with her, survived the fall and was rushed to Harlem Hospital in critical but stable condition as DNAInfo notes.
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The New York Daily News gave some insight into what may have prompted Wachenheim to possibly take her own life. Police found a 13-page, handwritten note on small pages of notebook paper under a bed in the apartment she shared with her husband, 48-year-old Hal Bacharach, who was at work when his wife jumped.
"I love you," said Wachenheim in the note to her husband, according to a source. "I'm making you suffer. You're going to think I'm evil."
When police arrived to the scene, a window with no safety bars to Wachenheim's West Harlem apartment was wide open. Police also said that there were no signs of struggle inside.
Surveillance footage of The Sutton showed that Wachenheim's husband left the apartment at 12:55 p.m. ET, storming out of the two-bedroom condo after a loud, shouting argument.
Area resident Steven Dominguez, 18, was walking to a grocery store along Bradhurst Avenue with his mother, Adelina Dominguez, 45, when he saw the Wachenheim fall. He said the baby bounced off her body, breaking some of the impact of the fall, before he hit the ground nearby and started crying face down.
"I heard a small scream when she was in the air, and then I heard a nasty bang," said Dominguez. "It sounded like a big piece of wood hitting the ground."
Dominguez also said that his mother went to pick up the baby in order to comfort it but an emergency response person told her to stay back.
"She was wonderful -- very devoted to the court [and] wonderful with everyone she worked with," said her boss, John Werner, chief court clerk. "It's a tragedy."
Here are seven things to know about Cynthia Wachenheim:
- Wachenheim, who graduated as valedictorian of her high school, went to law school at Columbia University.
- Wachenheim was a 45-year-old an associate attorney for New York State Supreme Court doing legal research for judges for the last 15 years
- Wachenheim was on maternity leave when her and her baby fell eight stories
- Wachenheim and her husband had lived at The Sutton for three years
- In her note, Wachenheim said that she wasn't happy, she was a failing mother and implied toward the end of the note that she was suffering from postpartum depression. Coincidentally, anti-depressant pills were found her apartment
- Wachenheim was also concerned about how her son was developing, police believing that she was convinced Keston has cerebral palsy, although doctors said nothing was wrong with him
- "She was very friendly," said Yaa Dwamena, 32. "She always greeted you when you came in and out of the building. She didn't seem like she was going through anything."
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