ARIZONA NEWS

Search warrant for DNA served to Hacienda HealthCare male staffers

Jan 8, 2019, 5:19 PM | Updated: Jan 23, 2019, 10:41 am
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PHOENIX – Phoenix Police investigators served a search warrant to obtain DNA from male staffers at Hacienda HealthCare, the facility where a woman in a vegetative state gave birth last month, the company said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

When asked about the warrant, a police spokesman said only that the investigation was ongoing.

The Hacienda statement said the company welcomed the move by the police and had looked into conducting its own DNA tests.

“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. We were told it would be a violation of federal law in either instance,” the statement said, adding that Hacienda was doing everything in its power to facilitate the police investigation.

Tribal officials announced Tuesday that the woman was a 29-year-old member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

Alejandro Benally, San Carlos Apache police chief, said Phoenix police “will do all they can to find the perpetrator” and his department will assist “in any way possible.”

John Micheaels, a lawyer now representing the victim’s family, said Tuesday that they have asked for privacy.

“The family obviously is outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda Healthcare. The family is well aware of the intense news and public interest in their daughter’s case, but at this time is not emotionally ready to make a public statement,” he 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.”

On Monday, longtime CEO Bill Timmons resigned from Hacienda after reports of the December birth surfaced last week.

Executive Vice President Gary Orman said in a statement about Timmons’ resignation that the facility “will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation, an unprecedented case that has devastated everyone involved, from the victim and her family to Hacienda staff at every level of our organization.”

The facility located near 16th Street and South Mountain Avenue said in a statement last Friday that it had “recently become aware of a deeply disturbing incident involving the health and safety of a Hacienda resident” but did not provide more information.

When asked that day about the reported incident, a Phoenix Police Department spokesman said the “matter is currently under investigation” but did not provide more information. A police report was not made available.

Melissa Blasius-Nuanez with the Arizona Department of Health Services said in a statement that the agency is aware of the situation and is working with law enforcement in its criminal investigation.

The department also “initiated an onsite complaint investigation” once it learned of the allegation, Blasius-Nuanez added, but did not give a date when the allegation was reported or what the investigation entailed.

Blasius-Nuanez said the agency has “required heightened safety measures be implemented at the facility including increased staff presence during patient interactions, increased monitoring of the patient care areas, and increased security measures with respect to visitors at the facility.”

The facility calls itself “Arizona’s leading provider of specialized health care services for medically fragile and chronically ill infants, children, teens, and young adults as well as those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Sexually assaulting a vulnerable adult is a felony in Arizona.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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