Earlier this month, a woman who has been in a vegetative state for over a decade gave birth to a boy on Dec. 29. The delivery immediately raised red flags and launched an investigation to find the suspect that raped her. Now, on Wednesday morning (Jan. 23), Phoenix police announced the arrest of a nurse that worked at Hacienda HealthCare facility, where the unidentified woman is a patient.
Nathan Sutherland, 36, was arrested and charged with vulnerable adult abuse and sexual assault, the Associated Press reports. Sutherland, who’s been an employee at Hacienda since 2011, was the 29-year-old woman’s care provider, according to Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, and his DNA matched the authorities’ gathered evidence.
In a statement published by KTAR News, the facility’s Executive Vice President Gary Orman said the company “will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation, an unprecedented case that has devastated everyone involved.”
The woman’s family discussed their daughter’s health condition in a statement issued to NBC News. “She has significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures very early in her childhood,” according to the family’s attorney. “She does not speak but has some ability to move her limbs, head and neck. Their daughter responds to sound and is able to make facial gestures. The important thing is that she is a beloved daughter, albeit with significant intellectual disabilities.”
The Huffington Post also notes that two doctors previously came under fire for the incident. One doctor was suspended while the other resigned. The doctor who was suspended was handed that mandate after authorities deemed he “placed the health and welfare of AHCCCS members in danger.”