Friday, 05 June, 2020

Police investigates sexual assault as woman in coma gives birth

The Hacienda Health Care facility in Phoenix Arizona shown in an image taken last week The Hacienda Health Care facility in Phoenix Arizona shown in an image taken last week
Deanna Wagner | 10 January, 2019, 18:17

Arizona police said Wednesday (Jan 9) they have opened a sex assault investigation after a woman who has been in a coma for more than a decade gave birth to a baby boy at a nursing facility in Phoenix.

They issued the statement a day after the company's CEO Bill Timmons resigned amid growing outrage over the attack on the unidentified woman, who has been in a vegetative state since nearly drowning as a teenager 14 years ago.

Thompson says police were called December 29 about a newborn in distress at a Hacienda HealthCare facility.

A lawyer for the patient's family said in a statement Tuesday that the baby boy will "be well cared for", but that they are shocked and outraged by the "neglect of their daughter".

Hacienda HealthCare has said the woman was a patient at one of its facilities, and called it a "deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation". Authorities served a search warrant Tuesday, a day after the provider's CEO resigned.

The woman is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, according to a statement released by tribal leaders on Tuesday.

She said the team may also consider performing rape kits on the victim.

"We had consulted attorneys to determine whether it would be legal for our company to compel our employees to undergo DNA testing conducted through Hacienda or for Hacienda to conduct voluntary genetic testing of staffers", the statement said.

"On behalf of the Tribe, I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our member", Chairman of the Tribe Terry Rambler said in a statement.

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"None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth", the source said.

San Carlos Apache Police chief Alejandro Benally said they will aid Phoenix police and "do all they can to find the perpetrator".

"Sadly, one of her caretaker was not to be trusted and took advantage of is my hope that justice will be served".

Hacienda "will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation", Gary Orman, the executive vide president of the Hacienda board, said in a separate statement Monday announcing the resignation of Hacienda HealthCare CEO Bill Timmons. Hacienda staffers reportedly did not realize the patient was pregnant until she began moaning as she was going into labor. According to its website, the facility serves infants, children and young adults who are "medically fragile".

Gov. Doug Ducey said he was "very troubled" by the allegations.

Thompson would not say whether people who visited the facility have also given DNA samples.

Arizona Department of Health Services said additional safety measures have been implemented at the home since the case came to light.

The case is "disturbing, to put it mildly", said Jon Meyers, executive director of The Arc of Arizona, an advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.