Cynthia Wachenheim, a 44 year old lawyer on leave on Wednesday jumped to her death from her eighth floor apartment. Who also came crashing to earth was her ten month old baby, Keston Bacharach, who Cynthia had strapped to her body. Fortunately for the baby his mother’s body served to act as a cushion and the child survived (how he will deal with her death once he is old enough to realize what happened is of course another story…) with only a bruise.
Before jumping to her death, Wachenheim left a 13 page letter which she described as her final act of ‘evil.’ Interestingly Wachenheim had apparently convinced herself, based on research on the internet, that her son Keston suffered from cerebral palsy or some neurological disorder—brought on by two falls, for which she blamed herself. (Doctors who examined the child found nothing wrong.)
Tells a Times source:
According to a law enforcement official who has seen the note, she wrote that her infant son, Keston Bacharach, had previously taken a few tumbles, including “two shameful incidents,” a fall from a Gymini play set [the Times is, throughout its article, bizarrely focused on brand names and Style Section asides, as though we might want to rush out and purchase the model of baby carrier into which Keston was strapped] onto the wood floor when she walked out of the room for five minutes, and off a bed. She blamed herself, and was convinced that those falls had led to a series of concussions and seizures that aggravated or contributed to maladies that would harm him for the rest of his life.
Her friends, family members and pediatrician did not believe her, she wrote. But she noticed changes in the baby—changes that only a mother who spends all day with her child would notice. For instance, she wrote, her son had grown sleepier and cried more frequently. She wrote that she could not bear the thought that he might suffer because she had failed to protect him. She wrote that what she was about to do was “evil.”
In her note Wachenheim went on to convey her deep love for her son and that she expected people to assume she had fallen victim to postpartum psychosis, a rare disorder that can lead mothers to harm themselves or their children. Which of course raises the question did she really or was this perhaps a vengeful course of action against the child’s father? Something that perhaps little Keston can spend the rest of his life coming to terms with…
Wrote Wachenheim to her husband in the note:
“I love you. I’m making you suffer. You’re going to think I’m evil.”
The Times goes on to note the following: Ms. Wachenheim was valedictorian at Colonie Central High School, near Albany, and graduated from what is now known as the University at Buffalo, and from Columbia University Law School. In 1993, she traveled to Pakistan to work in a law office specializing in women’s rights and worked on subjects like “honor killings” of women suspected of adultery, according to an article at the time in The Times Union of Albany.
So much for honor killings…