National Post

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Wednesday, December 08, 1999

'Miracle baby' returned to mother's care
Stewart Bell
National Post

Arlen Redekop, The Province
Nadia Hama fits a reindeer hat on daughter Kaya after they and Nadia's five-year-old son, Jovan, saw Santa at the Oakridge Mall in Vancouver yesterday. Nadia was reunited with her kids two nights before.: (Photo ran in all editions except Toronto.)

Arlen Redekop, The Province
Nadia Hama takes her daughter, Kaya, and five-year-old son, Jovan, to visit Santa at a Vancouver mall yesterday after being reunited with her children two nights ago.: (Photo ran in the Toronto edition.)

A British Columbia girl dubbed the "miracle baby" after she survived a 47-metre plunge into a river canyon has been returned to her mother, despite a continuing police investigation into the incident.

Police have alleged in a search warrant that Nadia Hama, the baby's mother, threw the 17-month-old baby over a bridge.

"Nothing has changed from our end," Constable Tom Seaman, the North Vancouver RCMP spokesman, said yesterday. He described the probe as "ongoing," "active" and "progressing towards a conclusion."

Child protection authorities returned the baby, Kaya, and her brother, Jovan, 5, to Ms. Hama following psychiatric and psychological assessments that said the children would not be at risk.

Ross Dawson, British Columbia's director of child protection, said the police investigation had left social workers in a quandary.

"That creates a dilemma for child welfare authorities into how long some of these investigations take and whether or not children have to wait to return to a parent while that goes on," Mr. Dawson said.

Although the children are now allowed to live with their mother, they will remain under the supervision of the B.C. Ministry for Children and Families. The situation will be reviewed again in three months.

Ms. Hama was carrying her baby daughter on her shoulder on Sept. 22 when the child went over the bridge rail and fell into the Capilano River canyon, a steep gorge popular with tourists.

The baby survived, her fall broken by tree limbs.

The RCMP began investigating Ms. Hama within hours of the incident, alleging in a search warrant application that Ms. Hama did not want the baby because she has Down's syndrome and was difficult to care for, and that Ms. Hama had recently tried to have the baby adopted.

But the Syrian-born mother, who came to Canada in the mid-80s to marry a Quebec interpreter, says she simply slipped. A three-page statement read by her lawyer in October called her "a loving parent whose child suffered a terrible accident."

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