'Mother tried to kill baby five times'

Woman would allegedly strangle her child until he stopped breathing, and then call for help.

baby blur violence 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
baby blur violence 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
A 19-year-old mother of two from a West Bank settlement was indicted in a Petah Tikva court on Thursday for allegedly trying to murder her eight-month-old baby on five separate occasions in the past two months. The woman, who cannot be identified by court order, also has a year-and-a-half-old son. According to the indictment, the woman tried to strangle her baby no fewer than four times during the months of June and July, and then tired to drown him in a bathtub while he was hospitalized for his previous injuries. She was charged with five counts of attempted murder, having been found fit to stand trial after undergoing a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. The woman, who was arrested at the end of July, has confessed to the allegations, police said. The chilling four-page indictment tersely recounts how the mother repeatedly tried to murder her baby. In the first incident, in June, the mother allegedly gripped the baby's throat while holding him on her lap, and choked him until he turned blue. She then called her husband and told him that the baby wasn't breathing. The husband summoned an ambulance, which rushed the toddler to Schneider Hospital in Petah Tikva. The next month, the mother allegedly tried to strangle the child again while he was being treated at the hospital. When he stopped breathing, she summoned a doctor, mistakenly assuming the child was dead, the indictment states. The third attempt took place later that month when the woman and the baby were visiting the child's grandmother, the charge sheet says. The woman allegedly choked the baby as he slept, until he turned blue and began foaming at the mouth. One again the woman alerted family members, who summoned an ambulance to the scene. Later that month, the mother allegedly tried a fourth time to strangle the child as he lay on the living room floor, choking him until he stopped breathing. She again called her husband, who summoned an ambulance again. The mother's fifth and final attempt to murder her child allegedly took place when the child was again hospitalized. According to the indictment, the mother held the baby's head under water while washing him in a bathtub until the child stopped breathing. She then wrapped him in a towel and summoned a doctor. A spokeswoman for the Social Affairs Ministry said Thursday that the family had only moved to the West Bank settlement three or four months ago, and that authorities did not know of any problems in the family until they were alerted by the family two weeks ago. The woman was subsequently arrested and kept away from her children, who are being treated by social workers.