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5-year-old survives bridge fall
Youngster seen clutching man's leg
Police watched tragedy helplessly


It's a miracle: A 5-year-old girl taken by her father, who was bent on killing her and himself, was thrown 15 metres from an overpass into oncoming traffic and survived without a broken bone.

The man, who died after jumping, led police on a frantic chase yesterday afternoon to a bridge on Don Mills Rd., over Highway 401. They were called there by the girl's mother at 4:30 p.m. after she found a suicide note at her nearby apartment.

"This guy was a loaded missile," Duty Insp. Brian O'Connor said at police headquarters last night. "He was going to kill himself and he was going to take his daughter to punish his wife for whatever he thought she had done wrong in the relationship,"

O'Connor said the man repeatedly called his estranged wife on his way to the bridge, telling her over and over again he was going to kill the girl.

"(It) amounts to psychological torture," O'Connor said.

Police weren't releasing the man's name to protect the family's privacy and are still looking into whether he had custody rights.

Shocked drivers in the highway's westbound lanes called police from their cellphones to report seeing the pair fall onto the road. While police didn't have time to halt traffic, drivers came to a stop. Officers who'd been trying to stop the man on the bridge but hadn't come close to him, ran down to the highway and helped put the girl into an ambulance, which rushed her to Sick Children's Hospital.

The girl suffered internal bleeding when she arrived but that stopped. Her condition is being monitored closely, but appears to be stable. She was alert enough to be talking.

Witnesses recalled seeing the girl, who was wearing a bright pink snowsuit, clutching the man's leg. Others remember seeing her in his arms as he screamed into the cellphone.

Then she was gone. He continued standing there, alone, for several seconds before disappearing over the waist-high railing of the bridge's east sidewalk.

"I saw the guy on the cellphone and he was screaming. There was a kid with a pink-coloured snowsuit. She was hugging and holding his leg as she was screaming," said Mehran Vagandoust as he and a friend were driving along Graydon Hall Dr. approaching the Don Mills overpass.

"I didn't see any police, but on our way back my friend said, `That was the guy we saw,'" he added, trembling from shock.

Just before he threw the girl off the bridge and jumped himself, the man could be heard speaking on his cellphone, saying, "It's so freezing. We're freezing."

Witness Yvonne Ferrer recalled the two on the bridge, but couldn't imagine whmit suicide."

Police had just launched a large-scale search and officers arrived at the bridge unable to stop what was about to happen.

The bridge is eight kilometres from the Shady Golfway apartment building where the child and her mother are believed to live, in the Don Valley Parkway and Eglinton Ave. E. area.

The man was known to ride the TTC and was believed to be on a bus with the girl.

It is believed he got off the bus near Graydon Hall Dr. and walked to the bridge as police closed in on him.

Witnesses said it appeared two officers stayed in their cruiser parked away from the man as they waited for backup to arrive and determine how the situation was to be handled.

The two officers on the bridge watched helplessly as the man sent the girl off the overpass and jumped.

"They're stunned, they're second-guessing themselves," said O'Connor.

The Toronto police homicide unit was called in.

The Special Investigations Unit, which probes incidents involving police in which a person is injured or killed, has not been called. Because the man is believed to have lived in Durham that region's police force is helping in the investigation.

When paramedics arrived on the highway, the little girl was unconscious but breathing.

She was transported to Sick Kids hospital in an emergency run by Toronto police and ambulance, while the man, aged about 35, was pronounced dead where his body lay in the westbound express lanes.

Police initially responded to a call of an abduction at about 4:30 p.m., and were looking for the girl, described as having a dimple on her chin and missing her bottom four teeth.

Anthony Tsinangos said: "We saw the man standing on the opposite side of the railing and by the time we made the left turn he had dropped. We saw him jump, but didn't see the kid.

"It's unfortunate, throwing a kid — an innocent — what are you going to do?"

Two women in a car, and Michael Nawrocki, who was driving a van, stopped on the bridge when they saw the man and child go over. "He threw her over and then he jumped after," said Nawrocki, who was driving south on Don Mills Rd.

He said he saw a cruiser parked on the side of the bridge as the man was peering over the railing onto the highway.

"As soon as he jumped the police officers ran out of their car and that's it."401 HORROR | Father throws girl off overpass — then jumps

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Baby Died from Herpes Transmitted by Rabbi During Ritual Genital Mutilation

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Baby Dies of Herpes in Ritual Circumcision By Orthodox Jews

ABC News, U.S.A., by Susan Donaldson James, March 12, 2012

New York City is investigating the death last September of a baby who contracted herpes after a "ritual circumcision with oral suction," in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish ceremony known in Hebrew as metzitzah b'peh.

The district attorney's office in Kings County Brooklyn is investigating the death of the 2-week-old baby at Maimonides Hospital, but would not disclose the name of the mohel or whether there would be a prosecution.

The 5,000-year-old religious practice is seen primarily in ultra-Orthodox and some orthodox communities and has caused an alarm among city health officials. In 2003 and 2004, three babies, including a set of twins, were infected with Type 1 herpes; the cases were linked to circumcision, and one boy died.

The mohel who performed the procedures, Yitzchok Fischer, was later banned from doing circumcisions, according to The New York Times. It is not known if he was involved in this recent death.

"It's certainly not something any of us recommend in the modern infection-control era," said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University.

"This is a ritual of historic Abraham that's come down through the ages, and now it has met modern science," he said. "It was never a good idea, and there is a better way to do this." (The modern Jewish community uses a sterile aspiration device to clean the wound in a circumcision.)

In the 2004 death and the more recent one, a mohel infected the penile wounds with Type 1 herpes I (HSV-1), which affects the mouth and throat. It is different from Type 2 or genital herpes (HSV-2), which is a sexually transmitted disease and can cause deadly infections when a newborn passes through an infected birth canal.

Neonatal herpes is "almost always" a fatal infection, according to Schaffner. "It's a bad virus. [Infants] have no immunity and so it's a very serious illness. Now we have another death -- an unnecessary, incredibly tragic death."

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Circumcision Botched by Jewish Father Results in Conviction for Aggravated Assault

The Canadian Press
Dec. 22, 2011

VANCOUVER - A B.C. man who performed a botched circumcision on his four-year-old son on the kitchen floor of his home has lost an appeal of his conviction and been found guilty of a more serious charge.

The B.C. Court of Appeal has stayed the man's conviction for criminal negligence causing bodily harm and convicted him of aggravated assault.

Court heard the boy was born premature at only 2.5 pounds and could not be circumcised at the time, nor did his parents request it.