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4th of July Tragedy

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Posted on Sat, Jul. 05, 2003

Woman, 2 babies go over bridge
One child still missing
Pioneer Press

A woman and two small children fell into the Mississippi River from the Wabasha Street Bridge on Friday night in a mysterious incident that occurred in the midst of the tumult of the Taste of Minnesota festival.

The woman and one of the children were rescued. But a river search continued hours later for the other child. The conditions of the two rescued people were not known.

Witnesses said it appeared the woman dropped the children — who are between the ages of 1 and 2 — into the river about 9 p.m. and then jumped off the bridge. But police said the scene was too chaotic Friday night to determine what exactly happened.

"How they got there (in the river) is too much speculation,'' said St. Paul Police Commander Bob Mercado. "By morning we hope to have some semblance of what happened. Right now we are grasping at straws.''

The woman and rescued child were taken to Regions Hospital. Mercado said officers couldn't interview the woman Friday night because she was under sedation.

The incident created a large stir as tens of thousands of people gathered near Harriet Island for the annual Taste of Minnesota. Many people were beginning to scout out key fireworks positions when the commotion began.

"This is the most horrible thing in the world,'' said Jennifer Saley, of La Crosse, Wis. Her husband, Tony, jumped in the river and rescued the first child.

"We saw a baby floating in the water,'' she said. "Nobody was doing anything and my husband just jumped in and he got the first baby.''

The incident occurred on the southeast side of the bridge over the channel between Harriett Island and Raspberry Island.

Witnesses said a woman drew attention to herself on the bridge with shouts. A small child then hit the water. Some thought it was a backpack or some sort of practical joke. Then, another child hit the water.

"She came out yelling. She threw the first baby and then threw the second and then she took off her blouse and yelled 'Freedom' and jumped,'' said Fred Amara. His account could not be confirmed by police, who were bringing witnesses to police headquarters for interviews.

"I knew it wasn't an accident. They were thrown,'' said Emiko Plummer of Maple Grove, who was on the west bank of the river. "I have two kids. I can't believe it. I hope they arrest whoever did it and put them in jail.''

As a police helicopter hovered overhead, hundreds of people lined up on the Wabasha Street Bridge and the pedestrian bridge to Raspberry Island to watch the search. A woman, presumably the mother of the children, was heard wailing on the rocks downriver from the bridge.

"Two babies,'' shouted a police officer to the boats on the river. "We have confirmation. We are looking for one more for sure. One more.''

The incident dampened the mood of what should have been a festive Fourth of July fireworks display. Many left early but a large crowd still remained.

"It's a shock,'' said Paul Bollman of Maple Grove. "We thought it was
a joke.''

Moderator: if this is in the wrong forum please move it.
post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to say I will post an update to this story later.
post #3 of 13
OMG why do people do these sort of things?
post #4 of 13
post #5 of 13
That is horrible. Sounds like she wanted to commit suicide and take the children with her.
post #6 of 13
Grrr. If she didn't want the kids then why did she have them?

If she wants to take her live fine, but why take the lives of her innocent children. People like this disgust me.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
St. Paul woman in custody after she's seen throwing toddler twins off bridge Watch video
Updated: 07-05-2003 11:01:38 PM

ST. PAUL, MN -- Saturday night on Eyewitness News at 10, reporter Todd Baer brought viewers his interview with the neighbor of Naomi Gaines. Gaines is accused of throwing her twin boys into the Mississippi River from the Wabasha Street bridge Friday night about 9:15. Witnesses watching from the nearby Taste of Minnesota festival say that they saw her jump into the river as well.

Bystanders rescued Gaines and one of the toddlers. Ramsey County Water Patrol officers spent last night and most of the day Saturday looking for the body of the other baby.

Gaines is 24 years old. Her neighbor, Tracy Buford, told Baer Gaines has four children in all, and is a single mother. Buford speculated the stress of that situation might have played a role in her bridge tragedy.

"Being a mother, being young. Because she couldn't have been that old. Being a young [mother]--that's a stressful thing on you."

Gaines and her rescued son are at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Doctors expect them to recover.

According to the video, the body of the second baby is still missing, and the mother is being charged with two counts of attempted murder.
post #8 of 13
Well, if the dumb B**ch would learn to use birth control. Being 24 and having 4 kids is no excuse for what she did. I don't care if she has psychological problems or not.

Like someone said before. You always see people who are irresponsible popping out kids left and right, when there are good loving couples out there desperately trying to concieve and to no avail.

That poor innocent baby.
post #9 of 13
I'm at a loss for words. That is a horrible story, and I really can't comprehend a mother's doing that.
post #10 of 13
Lorie asked if I could post the link to the video, but the way they have it set up you can't directly link to it. If you want to see the news footage, go to http://www.kstp.com/article/view/106343/ and click the Watch Video at the top of the story.
post #11 of 13
It will be the usual story: she'll be comitted for a psych evaluation, to determine if she's competent to stand trial. If so, her lawyers will argue that she's NOT mentally competent and, after at least a year of legal wrangling, she'll plea bargain and do her time in some mental institution. In the usual scheme of things, she'll do about three years.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
If you are interested in watching the news footage, you can click the watch video link at the top of the story.

Body believed to be missing baby found in river Watch video
Updated: 07-07-2003 08:19:01 AM

HASTINGS (AP) - Boaters found the body of a baby in the Mississippi River, and authorities said it appeared to be the child thrown into the river by his mother on Friday.

Dakota County Sheriff's dispatcher Jan Kaeder said a coroner will work to identify the body, but said they are "all but technically sure it's the child."

Boaters found the body Sunday evening just off an island in the river, between the St. Paul suburbs of Inver Grove Heights and St. Paul Park.

St. Paul police have said the boy's mother, Naomi Gaines, 24, of St. Paul, dropped the boy and his twin brother 75 feet into the river from a downtown bridge on Friday. She then jumped in after them. Bystanders pulled Gaines and one of the boys to shore. Both are expected to recover; police have arrested Gaines.

Investigators spoke with Gaines throughout Friday night and Saturday. Police Cmdr. Brian Coyle said Gaines was clear-headed, but he would not discuss what she told police.

Dakota County Sheriff Don Gudmundson cradled the baby's body as he carried it off a boat Sunday evening. The bundle, wrapped in white, had a red teddy bear on top.

Gudmundson said the discovery had an impact on the officers who recovered the body.

"If you look at the officers, they're pretty grim-faced at a recovery, when maybe they're not always that way," he said.

Gaines' sister, Phyllis Chew, said Gaines "has always been a very caring mother who has experienced continuous and emotional distress over a long period of time."

Tony Saley of La Crosse, Wis., jumped into the river on Friday after hearing a splash.

He first grabbed the woman. "She didn't resist at all, she just screamed," Saley said. He said he couldn't make out what she said.

Then he found one baby with his head slightly under the water. He let the woman go, and brought the baby back to shore.

"I hope the child is taken away and put in a good home where it won't ever have to worry about that again," Saley said on Sunday.

Cindy You're probably right, according to the video, the mother has a history of mental illness.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
If you are interested in watching the news footage, you can click the watch video link at the top of the story.


Charges in death of boy thrown in river Watch video
Updated: 07-07-2003 08:53:50 PM

ST. PAUL (AP) - A woman pushed her stroller partway across a bridge, kissed her twin babies and said she was sorry before throwing the 14-month-old boys into the Mississippi River on the Fourth of July, prosecutors said Monday.

Naomi Gaines then jumped into the river, shouting ``freedom'' on the way down, according to the complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court. She rescued, taken to a hospital and later arrested.

Gaines, 24, of St. Paul, was charged Monday with second-degree murder in the death of her son, Sincere Understanding Allah, and the attempted murder of his brother, Supreme Knowledge Allah, who survived the 75-foot fall and was rescued from the water by the same onlooker who rescued Gaines.

She was due to make her first court appearance Monday afternoon.

``The crime is so incomprehensible. The idea that a mother would try to end the life of her own children defies understanding,'' Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said.

The incident unfolded before thousands of people who were at the Taste of Minnesota food and music festival - many of whom were settling near the downtown waterfront for the fireworks show. The complaint said Gaines took the twins to the Taste looking ``for a friendly face.''

According to the complaint, Gaines told officers she would ``rather be dead than live in a place where I'm not free to walk around, I'm not free to be who I am, I'm not free to see other moms out, single black moms with their kids, enjoying their kids.''

According to the complaint, Gaines also told police she felt people were staring at her and that she decided everyone needed to see her. She allegedly said what she did was an ``in their face'' act and that she did not want to die quietly in her apartment without anyone paying any attention to her.

A man rescued Supreme and the mother, but couldn't get to the other boy. Sincere's body was recovered Sunday night after boaters spotted it 11 to 12 miles downstream, between the suburbs of Inver Grove Heights and St. Paul Park.

Gaines has other children who were placed with relatives, police said.

Neighbors and friends have described Gaines as a sad and lonely woman. Her sister, Phyllis Chew, said Sunday that Gaines was always a ``very caring mother'' but had been under ``continuous and emotional distress over a long period of time.''
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