It is believed that the woman, a migrant worker from Cianjur who had worked as a maid in Abu Dhabi for four years, gave birth to the baby during the flight.
According to Gulf Business, four hours after the plane took-off from Abu Dhabi, the woman, identified as Hani, started bleeding. The pilot therefore decided to divert the plane to Bangkok, Thailand.
According to an Etihad crew member, Francesco Calore, "The woman was in economy class but then laid on a business-class seat with an oxygen mask. The captain then announced we should divert to Bangkok," the Star Online reported.
In Thailand, Hani received medical treatment. The body of the newborn was only found after the flight reached its original destination in Jakarta. Hani was later flown from Bangkok to Jakarta, where she was arrested.
Jakarta Airport Police Chief Ahmad Yusef claims that the cleaning staff discovered the body of the full-term baby in a plastic bag placed in a drawer of one of the plane's bathrooms. The cause of the baby's death is still unknown, as is whether it was born alive. The head of Jakarta's airport police criminal division, Mirzal Maulana, added that an investigation of the incident is underway.
The Jakarta Post reported that Hani acknowledged that the baby was hers and admitted to leaving the newborn in the bathroom. She reportedly abandoned the newborn because it was conceived during an extramarital affair with her employer in Abu Dhabi.
Hani's husband and children are allegedly in Cianjur.
Last September, the body of a newborn was found in a waste bin in Belville, Cape Town, South Africa, on a public transport interchange. Officers found the child after they were alerted by commuters to a suspicious package wrapped in a black sweater and tossed in a waste bin. When officers opened up the bundle, they discovered the body of a full-term baby boy.