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Health-care worker arrested after DNA matches baby born to ​incapacitated patient​


Police in Phoenix say suspect has been charged with sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse

Image source: KNXV-TV video screenshot

A licensed practical nurse has been arrested in Phoenix after his DNA was found to match with that of a baby born to an incapacitated woman previously in his care.

What are the details?

On Dec. 29, the victim gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the Hacienda Healthcare, where she had been a resident for nearly a decade following a near-drowning incident that left her disabled.

Her caretakers were unaware of the woman's pregnancy until she went into labor, shocking authorities and the victim's family. Investigators obtained court-ordered DNA samples from the male staff at the facility in order to find a DNA link to the infant in order to identify who allegedly raped the patient.

On Tuesday, authorities obtained a sample from 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland, an LPN who had access to the woman during the time she fell pregnant. Sutherland's DNA was found to match the baby's, and he was arrested the same day by Phoenix police on charges of sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse.

According to KABC-TV, Sutherland had worked for Hacienda Healthcare since 2011. He was terminated after the company learned of his arrest.

The victim's family issued a statement through their attorney on Tuesday, saying they "would like to make clear that their daughter is not in a coma," ABC News reported. The statement explained that the woman — whose identity is being protected — "does not speak but has some ability to move her limbs, head and neck."

Anything else?

Days after news broke of the incapacitated patient giving birth, Hacienda Healthcare CEO Bill Timmons tendered his resignation to the board. Earlier this week, KPHO-TV reported that two physicians who had been responsible for the woman's care were no longer at the facility, with one resigning and another being suspended by the company.

Hacienda Healthcare issued a statement saying, "Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathy to the client and her family. Hacienda intends to do everything possible to restore its credibility in the eyes of our patients, families, the community and our agency partners at every level."

The Arizona state Department of Health Services told KNXV-TV that the facility has been required to increase security and staff presence after the assault was discovered, and another person is now required to be present in the room when male health-care aids administer care to female patients.

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