ARIZONA NEWS

Woman who had baby while in coma is San Carlos Apache Tribe member

Jan 8, 2019, 6:15 PM | Updated: Jan 23, 2019, 10:43 am
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PHOENIX – The woman who gave birth at a Phoenix health care facility recently despite being in a vegetative state was identified Tuesday as a 29-year-old member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

The tribe confirmed the events surrounding the birth at Hacienda HealthCare in a press release obtained by ABC15, saying the patient “has been in a persistent vegetative state and coma for over a decade.”

Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler said in the release that he was “deeply shocked and horrified” by the incident.

“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.

“Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her. It is my hope that justice will be served.”

Sexually assaulting a vulnerable adult is a felony in Arizona.

San Carlos Apache Police Department Chief Alejandro Benally said in the release that the case was in the jurisdiction of the Phoenix Police Department and his agency would assist in any way possible.

“I know Chief Jeri Williams and the Phoenix PD officers will do all they can to find the perpetrator,” he said.

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.”

Hacienda HealthCare issued a statement Tuesday saying Phoenix investigators had served a search warrant to collect DNA from the facility’s male staffers.

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, but attorneys said it would be illegal.

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

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.

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.

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Woman who had baby while in coma is San Carlos Apache Tribe member