Police investigators have begun to gather DNA from men who work at an Arizona care facility where a woman in a vegetative state gave birth last month.
Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said Wednesday the woman and child, who was in medical distress after being delivered December 29, remain in the hospital.
Detectives have asked men at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix to give buccal swabs, Thompson said. Investigators got court orders for those who didn’t voluntarily give samples. There is no suspect, Thompson said.
“The family obviously is outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda HealthCare,” the family’s attorney, John Micheaels said. “The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for.”
Thompson said the sexual assault investigation will take some time.
“We’re not going to point out who we’ve obtained DNA from or who we intend to get DNA from,” he said. “But suffice it to say, it is a large number of individuals. We have a very wide scope at this point.”
In an anonymous interview with ABC-15, a former caregiver for the woman expressed disbelief that her pregnancy went unnoticed.“I can’t believe that somebody would bathe her daily for nine months and never know that she wasn’t having a period, that she [was] growing in her midsection, that nurses weren’t keeping track [of her weight],” the former caregiver said. “Those things are shocking to me.”
Woman is a member of Apache tribe
The woman is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and has long been in a vegetative state, the tribe’s chairman said Tuesday.
San Carlos Apache Tribe chairman Terry Rambler called for justice.
“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. “Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her.”
CNN affiliate KPHO/KTVK
has reported the woman has been in a vegetative state for 14 years, quoting a source familiar with the situation. The woman has been a patient at this facility for at least a decade following a near-drowning incident, the Phoenix-based station quoted its source as saying.
Facility: It is an ‘absolutely horrifying situation’
Hacienda officials have called the situation “a deeply disturbing incident” and said they are cooperating with law enforcement and state agencies.