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Body of baby tossed into river found

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

The body of a baby believed thrown by her father from the Driscoll Bridge off the Garden State Parkway was found on the banks of the Raritan River this morning, just north of the Route 35 “Victory” bridge.


Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem

“Shortly after 8:30 a.m., people walking the southern bank of the Raritan River in Sayreville located the body of an infant,” said State Police Sgt. First Class Stephen Jones.

“The clothing and wrappings in which the child were found are consistent with the descriptions given in relation to three-month-old Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem, who has been missing since she was abducted by her biological father, Shamsid-Din Abdur-Raheem on February 16, 2010,” Sgt. Jones said.

Troopers from the Newark Bay station, working with detectives from their agency, collected evidence “that will be processed at the New Jersey State Police lab as soon as possible,” he said.

Dr. Lyla Perez of the New Jersey State Medical Examiner’s Office removed the body from the scene.  An autopsy will be done at the North Regional Office in Newark.

“Zara’s mother has been notified,” Jones said.

Authorities said Shamsid-Din Abdur-Raheem, 21, of Galloway Township in Atlantic County, snatched the infant from her grandmother’s apartment in East Orange, then tossed her from the bridge.

Just the day before, the infant’s mother, 23-year-old Venetta Benjamin, sought a restraining order against him.

Benjamin and Abdur-Raheem met as students at Stockton College, but she became afraid of him and tried to avoid him going with her baby to her mother’s home.

At this point, Shamsid-Din Abdur-Raheem is charged with murder and kidnapping, as well as attempted murder for injuring the baby’s grandmother.

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