Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

DNA sought of males at center where comatose woman had baby

DNA sought of males at center where comatose woman had baby

A woman in a vegetative state who had a baby after she was sexually assaulted at a long-term care facility is recovering in hospital with her child, police have said.

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.

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.

This story has been updated to clarify the woman's medical condition.

The woman's family "obviously is outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda HealthCare", John Micheaels, an attorney representing the family, said in a statement emailed to media outlets after the DNA search warrant was confirmed.

"We will continue to co-operate with Phoenix Police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation", the company said in a statement.

Thompson declined to say if police were looking at visitors to the health care center in addition to employees, and he would not specify whose DNA has been obtained or is being sought. Authorities served a search warrant Tuesday.

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

Thompson said the sexual assault investigation was launched that same day because the victim was in a vegetative state and was not in a position to give consent.

It would be the police who would lead DNA testing to figure out who fathered the baby, Solomon said. It appears no staff knew about the pregnancy until the birth, he said, adding that anyone who knew but failed to report it could face charges.

"When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers", Rambler said in the statement, which was obtained by multiple outlets.

Alejandro Benally, Chief of the San Carlos Apache Police Department also had a statement included in the letter, "At this point, this matter falls under the jurisdiction of the Phoenix Police Department".

Its chief executive resigned earlier this week.

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

The Hacienda facility serves infants, children and young adults who are "medically fragile" or have developmental disabilities, according to the website. "It is my hope that justice will be served", the tribe chairman told CBS.

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

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