Police are ending their active search for a missing baby in Lancaster and York counties.
York Area Regional police and Upper Darby police said during a news conference Thursday that investigators have searched all areas where they had reason to believe they might find the remains of 7-month-old Hamza Ali.
The boyfriend of the baby's mother, 30-year-old Ummad Rushdi, is in jail on charges that he kidnapped the baby while the three were visiting Rushdi's parents in Upper Darby on August 4. Police believe they have enough evidence to pursue homicide charges against him.
Upper Darby Police Chief Michael Chitwood said that unless Rushdi reveals where he hid the remains, investigators would need a miracle to find the body.
“The only person that knows where that baby is the scumbag that killed that baby,” Chitwood said, “and until he is willing, if ever, to tell us where that baby is, we're kind of stuck.”
Chitwood said the boy's mother has repeatedly pleaded with Rushdi to tell her where he hid the body, but he has remained silent on the baby's whereabouts.
As the investigation continues, authorities said they will focus on analyzing evidence and establishing the whereabouts of Rushdi and his brother, Jawaad Rushdi, between August 4, when the baby was kidnapped, and August 6, when Jawaad went to the Upper Darby home and told the mother that her son was dead.
Police on Thursday released photographs of Jawaad Rushdi and a cab he was driving August 4-6 in hopes of getting new tips in the case. Anyone who may have seen Jawaad or the car during the time period is asked to call York Area Regional police at 717-741-1259.
“I don't have the locations that the cab was at, and that's why we would like to have anybody cooperate with us,” York Area Regional Police Chief Tom Gross said.
Jawaad Rushdi, 32, has not been charged with any crime.
According to court documents, Jawaad was told the baby had been killed August 4, but for two days continued to tell the child's mother that Ummad was going to return her son to the Upper Darby home.
The analysis of evidence will include computers, cell phones, digging tools and other items that were seized from the Windsor Township home where Rushdi lived with his girlfriend and the baby, Jawaad Rushdi and his family, and others.
According to a search warrant inventory receipt, investigators on Tuesday seized two pick axes and a trunk liner from the garage, and a small shovel that was in a guest bedroom at 979 Castle Pond Drive.
Authorities additionally seized baby clothing from the back porch and a stained towel from the master bathroom, according to the document.
Chitwood said investigators believe Rushdi initially buried the baby in a makeshift grave near Columbia, but had second thoughts and gave the child a proper Muslim burial at another location.
According to the search warrant affidavit, a police dog trained in the detection of human remains last week alerted officials to a wooded area in Columbia that consisted of a large rock overlooking a patch of branches.
The dog alerted to an off-white pillowcase that was spread out on top of the rock, a tree stump next to the rock, and directly on top of the fallen branches, police said in the affidavit.
The baby's mother, Zaineb Gaal, told investigators that the pillowcase belongs to Rushdi, the document states.
Gaal additionally identified a blanket seized from the home last week as her son's. She told police the blanket had been with the baby while the couple was visiting Rushdi's parents.
The blanket and a white shirt were found in Rushdi's room. The shirt – which had been placed into a plastic bag – had a stain that appeared to be blood and another stain that appeared to be bodily fluid, the affidavit states.
According to court documents filed last week, Rushdi told his brother that he killed the child by shaking him after the baby woke up crying and would not stop.
He told Jawaad that he attempted CPR when the baby went unconscious, but could not revive him, the warrant states.
Rushdi then took the child from the home while the others were asleep and buried him, but did not tell his brother where he put the body, the document states.
Chitwood said investigators believe Rushdi hid the baby's body because injuries would show the death was not accidental, but reveal that he been abusing the boy for months.
He said the Rushdi had previously injured the baby's arm or shoulder, but Rushdi and his family would not allow the mother to take her son to a doctor.
“I want to see the cause of death,” Chitwood said. “Was the baby beaten to death? Was the baby strangled? Was it shaken baby? The family keeps on talking about it was an accident. Well, if it was an accident, show us the baby, let us do an autopsy.”