A successful attorney on maternity leave killed herself Wednesday by jumping from her eighth-floor New York City apartment holding her 10-month-old baby. The infant miraculously survived.
"I noticed something falling, but I didn't want to believe it was a person," witness Steven Dominguez told the New York Daily News. Dominguez said that the noise from the woman's back striking the sidewalk "sounded like a big piece of wood hitting the floor."
"I saw the baby bounce on her chest and fall to the concrete," Dominguez told the New York Post. "The baby started crying."
Neighbors told reporters that Cynthia Wachenheim, a Columbia Law School graduate who earned $118,000 a year working for the city court system, argued with her husband shortly before she jumped.
Christian Johnson, who lives two doors down, told local New York TV station WPIX that Wachenheim's husband "just kept saying 'Why wouldn't you pick up the phone, why would you put that stress on me? Why wouldn't you pick up the phone, why, why?'"
Police sources told the Daily News that antidepressants were found in Wachenheim's apartment, and that she left a 13-page unsigned suicide note, in which she described herself as a bad mother and mentioned missing a therapist appointment for postpartum depression. Other publications said the note was seven pages.
News reports identified Wachenheim as either 44 or 45 years old. Some reports identified her surname as Bacharach.
"She seemed stressed out — but what mother of a 10-month-old isn't stressed out?" an employee in her building told the Daily News. "She was always with the baby. She loved that baby."