Tragic case of infanticide; mother claimed baby was “possessed”

A woman accused of tossing her newborn son to his death from a fourth-floor window told police an evil spirit had taken over the boy, according to court papers Monday. Rashida Chowdhury, 21, was being held without bail after her arrest late last week in the death of her month-old son, Rizwan.

Source: Prosecutors: Mom who tossed baby said boy was possessed

Chowdhury initially told detectives that she had been asleep in the bed with her son and awoke to discover he was gone, but she later admitted she threw him out the window, police said. She said that he had been possessed by an evil spirit and had been sick recently, and she was “stopping the pain,” according to court papers.

Clearly, this is a case of the mother being disturbed in some way, not that the baby was possessed. It appears that she indeed does believe in possession but that is not the cause of such abuse; it provides a framework for how she interpreted the event. She may have been suffering from depression, very stressed, or in a difficult family situation, that is not clear yet.

Tragically, there were others in the house at the time. They did not suspect what had happened.

  8 comments for “Tragic case of infanticide; mother claimed baby was “possessed”

  1. smh
    August 10, 2015 at 3:43 PM

    Interesting article on infanticide/ postpartum psychosis.
    http://www.jaapl.org/content/40/3/326.full

  2. Peebs
    August 10, 2015 at 4:02 PM

    This condition has been recognised since the mid 19th Century in the UK.
    Why is it not recognised in the U.S.?

  3. Sk3ptik0
    August 10, 2015 at 4:33 PM

    Baby cries too much. Mother probably is at the end of her rope, mother does something stupid. Claims demon was in her child.

    Often, people that really believe in demons are rather proud of their beliefs and of getting rid of the demon. This woman tried to cover it up at first.

    While post-partum depression definitely may have something to do with this, anger, perceived lack of help, shame, etc. may also have played a part.

    No matter what, very sad.

  4. August 10, 2015 at 4:39 PM

    Not sure what you mean – post-partum psychosis is a legitimate diagnosis in the US. The DSM-V citation is “depressed episode with psychotic features, with peripartum onset” (meaning, within 4 weeks of giving birth).

  5. August 10, 2015 at 4:42 PM

    It’s hard to tell, without interviewing the mother, what was going on in her mind at the time she committed this horrible act. She may have really been out of touch with reality. Psychosis, like everything else, presents on a continuum, from mild to severe.

    I agree, very sad.

  6. Chris
    August 10, 2015 at 6:51 PM

    Maybe the infanticide was the first symptom, which is terribly sad. From the article: “Investigators were trying to determine whether Chowdhury suffered from postpartum depression but no clinical diagnoses had been made.”

    Also according to the article the baby had come home from the hospital after a viral infection the day before, and she did it at 4am (presumably when everyone else was asleep). She was fairly young, possibly sleep deprived, and we don’t know what the culture is in her family. Don’t go on the ethnicity of the name, they could be second or more generation American/British/etc.

  7. Mike C.
    August 12, 2015 at 7:15 AM

    It’s more like the mother was possessed, with lunacy.

  8. Beth A Hambridge
    August 28, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    Kind of an interesting POV not considered in other articles concerning this incident,,,

    Still, the episode has resonated deeply among social service providers and advocates who have been trying to address mental health problems, particularly among women, in the growing Bangladeshi population in New York City.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/nyregion/bangladeshi-women-isolated-in-new-york-city-need-more-support-advocates-say.html?_r=0

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