Upper Darby Police charge man with killing missing baby Hamza Ali

HARRISBURG, Pa. - August 27, 2013

Upper Darby Police filed the charges against Ummad Rushdi, a 30-year-old York man who was already in jail in the kidnapping of Hamza Ali from a home in the Philadelphia suburb three weeks ago.

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said Rushdi maintains the boy's death was an accident.

"His statement today was the baby can't be retrieved, that's his statement to one of the detectives," Chitwood said. "Obviously, without a body, we believe he murdered the baby and disposed of the body so we can't find out the cause of death."

Police previously said in a court document that Rushdi's brother said Rushdi told him he shook Hamza to death, then buried the child somewhere. The police affidavit released Tuesday said Rushdi also made a similar confession shortly after his arrest.

Rushdi's defense attorney, Mike Malloy, said Tuesday he had not been aware of the additional charges and declined to comment.

Along with homicide, police on Tuesday also filed charges of kidnapping to facilitate a felony, kidnapping to inflict injury or terror, concealment of a child's whereabouts, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

In the affidavit filed with the homicide charges, police said that on Aug. 7, after he was arrested, Rushdi told police "he could only be judged by God and 'not the system.' He further stated 'You will never find that baby. I am sorry for what I did.'"

Police said Zainab Gaal, Hamza's mother, recounted that the day before Hamza disappeared that Rushdi said he wanted to take Hamza to the home of Gaal's mother in Maine. "He then said, 'If not I will throw him off a bridge before I get there.' Five minutes later, (the) defendant said, 'I can get away murder,'" police wrote in the affidavit.

Rushdi summoned police to his cell on Aug. 8, police said, and described how Hamza had been crying.

"I play around with him roughly," he said, according to the affidavit. He then shook the child, and he stopped breathing, after which he tried to administer CPR, he told investigators.

"I wrapped him in a sheet and put him in the back of the car and buried him," he told police, adding that he took the child back to the York area and buried him under a pile of sticks. He later reburied him.

"When I get out of jail I'm going to dig him up and I'm going to bury him in my backyard," Rushdi told police, according to the affidavit.

In another new detail, police said Rushdi got a ride from the area near Columbia where he got his brother's car stuck the day the boy disappeared. The ride was in a church bus, and he proceeded to attend Sunday School at the church near York.

Rushdi became upset at the church and fell to his knees crying, the police affidavit said.

A witness "asked him if everything was OK and the defendant shook his head no. The defendant told him he was having problems of his own at home with his wife and he is at the point where he doesn't know how to fix them," police said.

Police had previously said Rushdi and Gaal were not legally married but had performed some sort of ceremony in the York home they shared with Rushdi's brother and others.

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