Police Arrest Suspect Who Impregnated Vegetative Patient
Phoenix, AZ – Police have arrested a licensed practical nurse who impregnated a patient in a long-term nursing facility in Phoenix.
FOX News reported that the 29-year-old victim who gave birth to a baby boy on Dec. 29, 2018 has been incapacitated since the age of 3.
She has been a patient at the Hacienda HealthCare facility for at least 10 years, according to KABC.
Her parents said the victim has been mischaracterized as “comatose” and that she is “intellectually disabled” from seizures when she was a toddler.
They said she has some mobility in her limbs, responds to sound, and can make facial expressions, FOX News reported.
Court records said the victim’s last physical was conducted in April and didn’t show that she was pregnant.
Employees of the Hacienda Healthcare facility where the birth occurred said they had no idea the patient was pregnant until she went into labor, KABC reported.
“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.”
“There was a nurse that was there, and from what I’ve heard she’s the one that delivered the baby,” the source said.
The victim required around-the-clock nursing care and the facility said that numerous people had had access to her room, KABC reported.
Investigators obtained DNA samples from numerous employees in order to determine the paternity of the baby boy.
Police obtained a DNA sample from 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland on Jan. 22 and determined he was a match, according to KABC.
Sutherland was arrested and booked into the Maricopa County Jail.
He is charged with one count of vulnerable adult abuse and one count of sexual abuse, according to KABC.
Police said Sutherland, who has worked at Hacienda HealthCare since 2011, was responsible for caring for the victim and had access to her during the timeframe when the rape occurred.
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said at a news conference on Tuesday that the case was solved using “good old-fashioned police work.”
"We have worked virtually nonstop every day, every night to resolve this case," Chief Williams said, calling the crime "beyond reproach."
"We owed this arrest to the victim, we owed this arrest of the newest member of our community, that innocent baby," the chief said.
The baby boy is “doing well,” according to Phoenix Police Spokesman Tommy Thompson.
"We can't choose how we come into this world," Thompson said.
Sutherland was arrested the day after Hacienda HealthCare officials announced that the two doctors responsible for the victim’s care had left the facility.
One resigned, and one was suspended, FOX News reported.
Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams told reporters that detectives spent "endless hours" getting to bottom of the "hideous crime"
"I know our officers took this crime to heart," the mayor said. "This is a facility you should be safe in, and someone wasn't."