SAYREVILLE, N.J. (WPIX)—The desperate search continued Thursday for an infant who was abducted and then thrown into a New Jersey river by her own father, police said. The search is centered around the Garden State Parkway's Driscoll Bridge, which spans the Raritan River between Sayreville and Woodbridge.
Officials searching for 3-month-old Zara Malani-lin Abdur say that her chances of survival are very slim. The infant has been missing for nearly three days.
"I just want my baby to get back home," the baby's mother Venetta Benjamin told reporters outside her apartment Wednesday. "I ask anybody if they have seen my daughter to please contact police."
East Orange police arrested Shamshiddin Abdur-Raheem, 21, at a relative's house in the Sicklerville section of Winslow Township Tuesday night.
During questioning, Abdur-Raheem confessed to authorities that he abducted his daughter earlier in the day and threw her over the Driscoll Bridge into the Raritan River while driving southbound on the Garden State Parkway.
After tossing his daughter into the river, he drove to see an Imam in Atlantic County, police said.
The Driscoll Bridge goes over the Raritan River and connects Sayreville and Woodbridge. Its location is just across from Staten Island, on the other side of the Raritan Bay.
Police say Abdur-Raheem kidnapped his daughter from at an apartment on South Harrison Street in East Orange at 4:19 p.m. following an argument with the girl's grandmother.
He allegedly punched the elderly woman in the face and ripped the girl from her arms, says East Orange Police Sgt. Andrew Dielmo.
Abdur-Raheem fled the apartment in a minivan with his daughter in tow.
The grandmother ran after Abdur-Raheem and threw herself on the hood of the vehicle in an attempt to stop the abduction.
Reports say Abdur-Raheem climbed into the minivan's passenger seat and an unidentified man was waiting for him in the driver's seat.
Dielmo says that while Abdur-Raheem is the biological father of the infant, he does not have custody rights. He and the child's mother are not married.
According Mitchell Liebowitz, Benjamin's attorney, she filed a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem Tuesday, but he did not yet recieve it.
An Amber Alert was issued for Zara. She was born on Nov. 19 2009 and last seen wearing green pajamas.
The 21-year-old is being held on $700,000 bail and faces arraignment in Newark on Thursday. He is charged with kidnapping, attempted murder aggravated assault and child endangerment.
The temperature in Sayreville dropped to 28 degrees Farhenheit Tuesday night and only reached a high of 38 degrees that day.