Toronto Star

September 25, 1999

Bridge baby's mom `caring and loving'

By Daniel Girard
Toronto Star Western Canada Bureau
The Toronto Star

VANCOUVER - A woman whose baby fell from a B.C. suspension bridge and survived is ``every inch the caring and loving mother,'' her lawyer says.

Andrew Powell said his client, Nadia Hama, was distraught about the nearly 50-metre plunge of her daughter Wednesday but wept with joy on learning the infant had survived.

``She strikes me as someone who loves her children very much,'' Powell said in an interview yesterday.

``She seemed to me to be every inch the caring and loving mother who was extremely worried and concerned about her baby.''

Hama, 37, was walking across the Capilano suspension bridge in North Vancouver with her 18-month-old daughter Kaya, who has Down syndrome, in her arm while holding her son Jovan, 5, with her other hand.

Hama told her lawyers - and police - that she slipped and the baby fell out of her arm and over the bridge railing.

Rescue crews said it was unbelievable that Kaya survived. It's thought tree branches broke her fall before she landed on a ledge above the fast-flowing river. She was in ``very good'' condition in hospital yesterday.

Powell said Hama feels ``mortified and stigmatized'' by the fact that people may think she tried to kill her baby. ``It's a lot easier for people to believe that a woman's trying to eliminate one more problem from her life,'' Powell said. ``I think people might tend to want to believe that.''

RCMP, who questioned Hama for nearly 24 hours before releasing her, said yesterday their investigation was continuing. They are apparently being aided by Hama's estranged husband, Vancouver lawyer Kjeld Werbes, and people who apparently recognized themselves on the bridge in tourist photos made public.

BCTV reported last night that police yesterday searched Hama's downtown Vancouver home and seized computer equipment.

``We're still in the midst of conducting the primary investigation, which is the incident on the bridge,'' said Sergeant Rod Booth, an investigator with North Vancouver RCMP's serious crimes unit. Booth refused to comment on allegations from Hama's lawyers that her treatment at the hands of the RCMP was ``atrocious.''

``It's an internal, in-house matter,'' he said. ``If there are issues there that need to be researched further, they will be researched.''

Powell alleged police deprived Hama of sleep, denied her access to lawyers for part of the nearly 24 hours she was in custody, refused to let her know the condition of her baby and would not allow her to seek medical attention for the arm and ankle she apparently hurt in the fall on the bridge.

A lawsuit may be filed against the RCMP, Powell said. ``They're saying the investigation is proceeding probably to justify their unconscionable detention of her,'' Powell said.

It was also reported yesterday Hama has been fighting a nasty legal battle with Werbes. They separated in January, 1998, about three months before Kaya was born.



With files from Canadian Press

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