Family of woman in vegetative state who gave birth is 'traumatized and in shock'
11 January, 2019, 17:17
A spokesman for Hacienda HealthCare, David Leibowitz, said investigators served a search warrant Tuesday to obtain DNA samples from all male staffers - a day after company CEO Bill Timmons stepped down. "Wherever this investigation takes us, we are prepared to go forward with it". Authorities have released little information from the investigation, which has yet to be classified as a sexual assault.
The company also said it had sought legal advice over the possibility of mandatory DNA testing for staff, but was advised it would violate federal law.
Executive vice president of the board Gary Orman said Hacienda "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 organisation". However, according to reports, workers at the care facility where she lives didn't notice the developing pregnancy.
The mother, who has been in a vegetative state for 14 years after a near-drowning, was "unable to move [and] unable to communicate, in other words, she was helpless and incapacitated", according to Thompson.
It remains unclear to investigators if the woman was sexually assaulted a couple of times.
The victim, who has not been named, gave birth on December 29 at Hacienda HealthCare.
Both the baby, who is now 11 days old, and his mother are currently recovering at a local hospital. The woman has not been publicly identified by police.
In 2017, the facility was cited by the state for failure to protect residents' privacy while they were naked in the shower, according to records from the state Department of Health and Human Services.
"She lacks sufficient understanding and mental capacity to make decisions or give consents for her medical, placement or financial estate", the court documents say. "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]".
Officials from the San Carlos Apache tribe announced on Tuesday night that the woman was a member of their community and confirmed she was still in a vegetative state when she gave birth.
Tribal chairman Terry Rambler said: "On behalf of the tribe, I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our member". Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her.
Her family, who are members of the San Carlos Apache tribe in southeastern Arizona, said in a statement through their attorney that they will care for the baby boy.
"The family obviously is outraged, traumatised and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda Healthcare", attorney John Michaels said.
The department of health ordered Hacienda to implement "heightened safety measures", spokeswoman Melissa Blasius-Nuanez said.
"We're not going to point out who we've obtained DNA from or who we intend to get DNA from", he said.
It's possible the woman won't have any additional long-term complications from giving birth. Kathy died before the boy's first birthday.
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She urged anyone who may be a victim to come forward and call the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Division at 773-674-6492. The case was referred to a local prosecutor, and a judge issued a warrant for Mason's arrest in July previous year .
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