Cynthia Wachenheim, the Harlem lawyer who committed suicide on Wednesday with her 10-month-old baby strapped to her chest, left a 13-page handwritten suicide note, reports the New York Times. While Wachenheim did not survive the eight-story fall, her baby, Keston Bacharach, survived almost unscathed, suffering only a few minor scratches.
The suicide note revealed Wachenheim felt guilty about two incidents where Bacharach fell, once from a play set and another time from a bed, onto the floor. According to the note, Wachenheim blamed these falls to the concussions and seizures that Bacharach suffered from, reports the NYT. Wachenheim believed her child was suffering from cerebral palsy, but doctors have claimed the child did not suffer from any such ailments, according to sources talking to the New York Daily News.
In the 13-page suicide note, Wachenheim wrote, “I love you. I’m making you suffer. You’re going to think I’m evil,” according to the NYDN’s source who read the note. Wachenheim described changes in her baby’s behavior, including increased sleepiness and crying, that convinced her that the baby was not well, reports the New York Times. Wachenheim constantly called her child “beautiful” in the note, reports the NYT.
The NYDN’s source also said that, in the note, Wachenheim believed she was suffering from postpartum depression and was supposed to see a therapist but did not attend a scheduled session.
Prior to the incident, a neighbor, Christian Johnson, 37, heard Wachenheim and her husband, Hal Bacharach, 48, get into a fight with Hal yelling at his wife, reports the Daily News. He left the building around 12:55 p.m., approximately three hours before the suicide. It is believed that Wachenheim was taking antidepressants, and pills were found inside the apartment, notes the police source who spoke to the Daily News.
Wachenheim’s suicide came as a shock to neighbors and colleagues who described her as a devoted mother who was always friendly and truly loved her baby, always doting on the child and carrying him, notes the Daily News.
Keston was treated for his injuries at a local hospital and is currently at home with his father.