Hamza Ali
Hamza Ali

Prosecutors in Delaware County are seeking the death penalty against a York County man accused of murdering his then-girlfriend's baby.

Ummad Rushdi, 31, of 979 Castle Pond Drive in Windsor Township, was formally arraigned Wednesday in Delaware County Court, according to online court records.

During the arraignment, prosecutors announced their intent to seek the death penalty against Rushdi, according to Upper Darby Township Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood.

Rushdi remains in Delaware County prison without bail, charged with first-, second- and third-degree murder, kidnapping, concealment of the whereabouts of a child, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Ummad Rushdi
Ummad Rushdi

Neither prosecutor Stephanie Wills nor defense attorney Michael Malloy returned phone messages seeking comment.

Rushdi is accused of killing 7-month-old Hamza Ali.

The background: Hamza has been missing since Aug. 4. He, his mother and Rushdi all were in Upper Darby visiting Rushdi's parents when the baby went missing, police said.

Rushdi confessed to a family member that he fatally shook Hamza because the baby would not stop crying, then took the baby's body from the home, drove it to the Columbia area and buried it, according to police.

Hamza and his mother, 20-year-old Zainab Gaal, lived with Rushdi in the Castle Pond Drive home, along with Rushdi's brother, other family members and boarders, according to police.

Numerous searches in York and Lancaster counties on foot, in the air, by boat and with search dogs and a dive team have failed to locate Hamza's remains.

Where is Hamza? Chitwood has said the chance of finding Hamza's remains has dwindled.

Charging documents state Rushdi told a family member he shook Hamza because the baby wouldn't stop crying and he was unable to revive him.

But Chitwood has said he suspects Rushdi beat Hamza to death and doesn't want the child's bruised body found.

"He despised that child ... and he killed that child," Chitwood told The York Dispatch. "I believe it was a horrible death."

Wills has said she believes prosecutors can prove a murder case without Hamza's body.

During Rushdi's preliminary hearing in October, Gaal testified Rushdi always had issues with her baby.

"He (Rushdi) would say he's an idiot baby -- a negative-energy baby," Gaal said. "That he doesn't belong here."

-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.