NRI woman hurls toddler, self into river over marital row

The baby of 33-year-old Devi Silvia, the mother of two, was in critical condition and had to be taken to a trauma centre in Manhattan.

“She said she was sad and lonely and angry at her husband and that she did this horrific act on purpose,” Assistant District Attorney Robert Hettleman was quoted as saying by the ‘New York Post’.

“She made clear that she threw her baby in to the freezing river in order to get back at her husband,” he said, arguing successfully that the mother be held without bail.
The toddler, Jessica Prithiviraj, was blue and motionless when rescuers plucked her and Silvia from the roughly 50-degree (10-Celsius) water, Hettleman said. He said the child was in stable condition on Friday.

Desperate to go home

Silvia had told family members that she was desperate to take the child back to India, Hettleman said. The family had been in the United States only a few years and, in that time, had travelled, for the husband’s job, to Chicago, California and New York City.
The Tamil-speaking Silvia learned prosecutors would seek to indict her on an attempted-murder charge for her plunge on Tuesday off an Upper West Side pier.

The Indian national and mother of two was told of the charges at a Manhattan Criminal Court arraignment conducted via a video link to a conference room at Elmhurst Hospital, where she was being held in a psych ward, the report said. She didn’t enter a plea and is being held without bail at least until a June 15 court date. If convicted, she could face up to 25 years in prison.

Silvia’s baby “survived but suffered significant hypothermia, was blue and motionless when pulled out of the water,” Hettleman said.

“The baby was in critical condition and had to be taken to a trauma centre in Manhattan,” he added. “The child is stable now and seems to be OK, although we won’t know the extent of any long-term damage for a while, if any.”

The husband, Dominic James Prithiviraj, could not be reached for comment.
Judge Melissa Jackson ordered that she be barred from any contact with the baby. “No phone calls. Nothing,” the judge said.

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