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Mother charged with throwing baby son into Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- Friends say Dunia Sayegh loved her third child so much she never put the boy down. Now she is charged with murdering 2-month-old Hesham by dropping him into the churning waters of Niagara Falls.

Mrs. Sayegh was arrested Tuesday, three days after Niagara Regional Police say the 27-year-old woman, her husband Rafik, the baby and the Toronto couple's two other children visited the Canadian side of the falls.

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While Sayegh went to buy film, the rest of the family stood along a railing 12 feet upstream from where the Niagara River roars over the falls and plunges 162 feet into space.

Police said the baby suddenly tumbled over the railing into the river. As dozens of tourists screamed helplessly, the child was swept over the falls and vanished into the swirling whirlpool below.

The body has not been recovered and police said it might never be found because of the rocks and powerful undercurrents beneath the falls.

Police said at the time Mrs. Sayegh had apparently suffered a dizzy spell and dropped the infant. Following the incident, Mrs. Sayegh became hysterical and was taken to a nearby hospital to be sedated.

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But on Tuesday, two detectives arrived at the Sayeghs' north Toronto home, arrested Mrs. Sayegh and took her back to Niagara Falls where she was charged with second-degree murder. She could be sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted.

A police spokesman said the arrest came after 'an exhausive investigation' that included a search for witnesses.

Relatives and neighbors said Mrs. Sayegh and her husband had wanted a third child and were delighted when the boy was born.

'She had waited so long for him,' said a friend of the family who declined to be identified. 'She wouldn't even go to a movie and leave him alone. She always held him and never put him down.'

Hesham was born with a mild respiratory defect and Mrs. Sayegh was so concerned about his condition 'the doctor gave her pills to relax her,' the friend said.

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