Phoenix police investigating sex assault at Hacienda HealthCare

10 January, 2019, 18:19 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Brian Skoloff  AP  Shutterstock

Police in Arizona are seeking DNA samples from male staff at a nursing home where a patient in a vegetative state gave birth.

Police spokesman Tommy Thompson said at a news conference Wednesday that investigators are gathering DNA from male workers at the facility and that a suspect has yet to be identified in the sexual assault.

The tribe has issued a statement shortly after the Native woman - who had been in a vegetative state for over ten years after a drowning accident - gave birth to a child as a result of being sexually assaulted at the facility.

A lawyer for the woman's family released a statement Tuesday saying the family was outraged at the "neglect of their daughter" and they asked for privacy.

On Tuesday, the woman's family attorney, John Micheaels, said in a statement to PEOPLE, "The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for".

CNN affiliate KPHO/KTVK has reported the woman has been in a vegetative state for 14 years, quoting a source familiar with the situation.

"She was not in a position to give consent", Thompson said of the mother, calling her a "helpless victim who was sexually assaulted".

The woman's baby also did not appear to be breathing when police were called into the facility.

"I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members", Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler said.

It's unclear if facility staff members knew about the pregnancy until the birth.

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"When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers", he said Tuesday. They have declined to comment.

Founded as Hacienda de Los Angeles in 1967, Hacienda HealthCare describes itself on its website as "the leading provider of specialized medical care and social services for Arizona's infants, children and young adults who are medically fragile or chronically ill, including those with developmental disabilities". "None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much, giving birth".

The CEO of Hacienda HealthCare Bill Timmons resigned on Monday, the centre confirmed in a statement.

The woman went into labor a few days before New Year's, perplexing her caretakers.

Let's hope the authorities catch the perpetrator so that justice can be served.

In a statement, board member Gary Orman said the facility "will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation".

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's office has called the case "deeply troubling".

The department of health ordered Hacienda to implement "heightened safety measures", spokeswoman Melissa Blasius-Nuanez said. The facility responded to the Post, "As a company, we welcome this development in the ongoing police investigation".

"I can't believe someone receiving that level of constant care wasn't recognized as being pregnant prior to the time she delivered", Meyers told the AP.

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