A woman who witnesses say hurled her toddler daughter into the chilly Hudson River on Tuesday before jumping in behind her, leading to a dramatic rescue by police officers and firefighters, has been charged with attempted murder, police said.
Devi Silvia also was charged Tuesday with assault, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.
Police have witnesses who saw Silvia, 33, throw her daughter in the water and then jump in, Browne said. The pair were spotted Tuesday morning bobbing in the water by passers-by who came across an empty stroller on a pier.
Silvia and her 19-month-old daughter were taken to a Manhattan hospital, where they were listed in serious condition, authorities said. Silvia was released from the hospital and was in custody, where she couldn't be reached by telephone for comment. Her arraignment was pending.
Maryann Ford said she was walking with her 3-year-old godson and her friend Lane Beauchamp on a pedestrian pier that juts out into the Hudson when she noticed the empty stroller.
Ford said she instinctively looked at the water between the pier and the remnants of an abandoned dock. That's when Ford, who lives nearby, and Beauchamp spotted the woman and the child, both fully dressed, in the water.
"It's so disturbing," Ford said. "I just can't get it out of my head — seeing her head go down and seeing that baby's head go under, and at one point seeing both go down. That's really shaken me."
Ford said they called out to the woman and she waved back at them.
"She wasn't dog-paddling toward the shore," Ford said. "She was dog-paddling sort of farther out."
Beauchamp, who also lives in the neighborhood and called 911, said he never saw flailing arms or anything dramatic but the woman seemed to intentionally move away from the shore. The woman and the toddler were bobbing up and down in the water as they got farther out.
"It was almost an eery calm about it, which is also why something didn't seem right," he said.
Beauchamp said the woman let her daughter go and they were about 10 to 20 feet apart.
About 20 minutes after rescuers plucked the two from the water, Ford and Beauchamp ran into a man who identified himself as the toddler's father.
"I said to the guy, 'What happened?'" Ford said. "He said: 'Nothing. I don't know. There were no issues.'"
Browne said police were questioning the man as a witness.
Rescuers were called to an area of the river near 82nd Street shortly after 11:30 a.m. The pair were pulled out of the river about 10 blocks south of there. The fire department rescued the woman, who was face-down in the water, and police rescued the child, who was face-up. Both were resuscitated.
It wasn't immediately clear how long they had been in the water, which was around 50 degrees, the Coast Guard said. The fire department said about 15 minutes lapsed between the time of the call and the transport.