Police Seek DNA Samples From Male Staff at Facility Where Vegetative Woman Gave Birth

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
January 9, 2019 Updated: January 9, 2019

The Phoenix Police Department served a search warrant to obtain DNA samples from male staff members at Hacienda Healthcare, where a woman in a vegetative state gave birth on Dec. 29, 2018.

The warrant on Jan. 8 was part of the department’s probe into how the woman got pregnant, according to a press release from Hacienda.

“As a company, we welcome this development in the ongoing police investigation,” the company stated in the release, reported the Arizona Republic.

Like all statements made in the case, the company did not post the information on its website.

Hacienda said that it had considered asking employees for DNA but that attorneys advised against it, believing it would violate federal law.

“Hacienda stands committed to doing everything in our power to bring this police investigation to a quick conclusion,” the company statement said. “We will continue to cooperate with Phoenix police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation.”

The Phoenix Police Department declined a request to comment. Apart from confirming that officers are investigating the case, the department has not released any information on the case.

An attorney for the family of the vegetative woman said on Tuesday that the baby boy is healthy but it’s not clear who currently has custody of the child, reported KPHO.

The woman has not been named but she’s been described as a 29-year-old Native American woman who has been in a vegetative state for 14 years after nearly drowning.

She was reportedly raped multiple times.

According to The Brain Foundation, “a vegetative state is when a person is awake but showing no signs of awareness.”

The San Carlos Apache Tribe, located in southeastern Arizona, said on Tuesday that the woman is an enrolled member of the tribe.

“On behalf of the Tribe, I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members. When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers,” Chairman Terry Rambler said in a statement.

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

Alejandro Benally, chief of the San Carlos Apache Police Department, said that the matter is under the jurisdiction of the Phoenix Police Department and that his department would assist the department in any way possible.

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

hacienda healthcare facility
Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix, Arizona on a Jan. 4, 2019. A woman in a vegetative state gave birth on Dec. 29, 2018, in a Hacienda facility, prompting a sexual assault investigation. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Birth Takes Staff by Surprise

The birth at Hacienda de Los Angeles, a Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix took staff members by surprise.

“None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth,” a source told KPHO. “From what I’ve been told she was moaning. And they didn’t know what was wrong with her.”

A source told NBC 12 that Hacienda has changed protocol since the birth, requiring that male staff members be accompanied by female staff members.

The source also said that Hacienda does not have cameras inside the hallways or rooms of the facility: the rape or sexual assault that happened was not recorded.

The Arizona Department of Health Services told the Arizona Republic that in the wake of the news that a woman gave birth, the facility is required to have heightened security measures including increased staff presence during patient interactions, increased monitoring of patient care areas, and increased security measures with respect to visitors to the facility.

“We are aware of this situation and are actively working with local law enforcement in their criminal investigation,” the department said in a statement.

On its website, Hacienda describes itself as “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.”

The organization cares for more than 2,500 across all of its facilities.

According to federal records, the healthcare facility where the woman gave birth has at least 74 patient beds. Like the Native American woman, some patients have been there for 10 years or longer, even decades.

From NTD News

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.