Newstalk
Newstalk

15.47 23 Jan 2019


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A nurse who was responsible for providing care to a woman who had been in a vegetative state for years has been arrested after she gave birth.

Phoenix Police said 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland has been detained on one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Mr Sutherland was arrested after police received initial results from DNA tests.

“This incident occurred on the 29th December 2018," he said.

“We began working; we issued search warrants to make sure that we identified employees that had been working there as well as anyone that we could identify who possible had had contact with the victim.

“Yesterday, My Sutherland was brought in under a court order; he provided a DNA sample; that DNA sample was tested and ... later in the afternoon we went back and took him into custody.

“He has been going through interviewing and processing with detectives and then today, as we speak, he is currently being booked into the Maricopa County Jail.”

Vegetative state

Police Chief Williams said Mr Sutherland worked as a licensed practical nurse at the Hacienda HealthCare facility where the woman was being treated.

The 29-year-old victim has been incapacitated since the age of three following an incident in which she nearly drowned.

Employees at the facility said they had no idea she was pregnant until she started going into labour and gave birth to a healthy baby on 29th December.

Court records say her last known physical was in April.

"Deeply shocked and horrified"

The woman is a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe.

Earlier tribe chairman Terry Rambler said the community had been left "deeply shocked and horrified" by the incident.

After the birth was publicly revealed the private clinic's boss, Bill Timmons, resigned. 


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