The police collected the DNA of male employees of a private nursing home in Arizona on Tuesday as they continued to investigate allegations that a woman in a vegetative state there who gave birth to a child last month had been sexually assaulted, the nursing home's parent company said.
Commenting for the first time on the investigation since the December 29 birth came to light, Phoenix police said they have not ruled out anyone and are still gathering DNA from all the facility's male employees.
The investigation prompted outrage nationwide last week after KPHO revealed a 29-year-old Native American woman living in a yearslong vegetative state had been impregnated at the facility.
"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 company said in a statement.
Police have requested DNA samples from men working at a home where a patient in a vegetative state was raped and later had a baby.
Hacienda HealthCare confirmed the search warrant for DNA samples Tuesday evening.
Hacienda CEO Bill Timmons on Monday after 28 years at the facility, which was rated "much below average" on the Medicare website and almost had its government funding revoked after a 2013 investigation found at least one staff member was making inappropriate sexual comments to patients and staff were deficient in reporting patient abuse complaints.
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The woman, a confirmed member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, has lived in a vegetative state since she was 15 and almost drowned.
Let's hope the authorities catch the perpetrator so that justice can be served. Indeed, according to some reports, personnel at her facility did not even know she was pregnant.
Local news website Azfamily.com first reported that the woman had been in a vegetative state for more than a decade after a near-drowning and that no workers were aware she was pregnant.
SHAPIRO: The facility where this took place was called Hacienda HealthCare. The group's CEO, Bill Timmons, resigned on Monday in the wake of reports on the case. The birth was a complete surprise to staff, not only because her condition makes her unable to consent or engage in sexual activity, but because they were completely unaware of her pregnancy until she went into labor.
Police have declined to comment on the investigation. The police in Phoenix announced Friday that they had opened the investigation into the alleged assault. In 1996, a woman in a 10-year coma after a auto crash gave birth to a boy.
Hacienda describes itself as Arizona's leading provider of specialized healthcare services for medically fragile and chronically ill patients and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's office has called the situation "deeply troubling". They include more than one staff member being present during patient interactions and more scrutiny of visitors.