Galiema Begg says she should have waited for a visa before she tried to cross the Rainbow Bridge from Canada into the United States with her 8-month-old son for a reunion with her parents in Miami.
Ms. Begg, 30, of Johannesburg, South Africa, afraid she would be caught after U.S. Customs agents stopped the vehicle Thursday night at the bridge, held her 8-month-old son so tight that he died of asphyxiation, Niagara County Coroner James Joyce ruled.
"This was a stupid thing to do because I just should have waited for my visa. All I wanted to do was see my family," she said in a statement to Niagara Falls Police.
Ms. Begg has been charged with criminally negligent homicide along with her brother, Achmat Begg, 31, and their uncle, Mohamad Tahir Toffie, 57.
Police said Toffie told them he had planned to inform customs agents about the situation when they reached the border, but his niece panicked and pulled a coat over herself and the baby in the back seat. The men then covered her with a blanket.