A baby born to a woman who had been in a vegetative state for more than a decade came close to dying during birth, police have revealed.
A woman at a health care facility was allegedly raped while in her current vegetative state, and gave birth on December 29.
She had been in a vegetative state for more than 10 years after a near-drowning when she delivered the baby boy.
Sergeant Tommy Thompson said he didn't have many details about the birth, but to his knowledge, staff members of the facility were there when the baby was born, and it was a natural birth.
He wasn't able to confirm if the baby was full term at the time of the birth, but he said the baby boy was 'quite a long ways'.
When asked if staffers at the facility knew about the pregnancy and failed to report, Thompson said: "I'm led to believe that this [pregnancy] came to light when the baby was born."
Staff noticed she was moaning and realised she was in labour. No members of staff had realised she was pregnant.
"There was a nurse that was there, and from what I've heard she's the one that delivered the baby," a source from inside the facility told KPHO.
Police said that if staffers did know about the pregnancy, they will face possible charges for not reporting it to authorities.
"This was a helpless victim who was sexually assaulted," Thompson told reporters.
He said the woman, 29, who has not been identified, was "not in a position to give consent".
A lawyer for the woman's family said they were outraged at the 'neglect of their daughter' and asked for privacy.
"The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for," Phoenix attorney John Michaels said in a statement.
Police have now confirmed they served a search warrant to get DNA from all male employees at the long-term care facility in a bid to find the woman's attacker.
Hacienda HealthCare said it welcomed the DNA testing of employees.
"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.
Following a sexual assault investigation, Hacienda HealthCare CEO Bill Timmons has resigned.
Hacienda "will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation, an unprecedented case that has devastated everyone involved, from the victim and her family to Hacienda staff at every level of our organisation," Gary Orman, a member of Hacienda's board of directors, said in the statement.
No one has been arrested in connection with the incident, and it's unclear whether police have identified any suspects.
Following the incident, a mother of another patient in the facility told KTVK she is sleeping in her daughter's room as she fears another attack.
Karina Cesena says her 22-year-old daughter has a traumatic brain injury and says she will continue sleeping in her room until the attacker is caught.
"I do not [know if my daughter was victimised], but I do ask her, and she can answer yes or no," Cesena told the news station. "She is not able to walk or talk yet, but she does understand."
About Hacienda HealthCare, Cesena said: "Trust has been broken. Trust has definitely been broken."
Other family members of patients told the news station that they'd noticed more security guards and a new protocol requiring male staffers to be accompanied by female staffers if they go into a female patient's room.
Hacienda HealthCare was founded five decades ago.
There have been reports of patient mistreatment. For example, an investigation in 2013 found that a staff member had made "inappropriate, sexual statements" about four clients. The staff member remarked that one client with intellectual disabilities had been placed in a sexual position.
The worker had also been observed watching clients touch themselves. The alleged incidents weren't reported to the facility's administrators until a month after they occurred.
That staff member was ultimately terminated, but the state found that the facility "failed to ensure clients . . . were treated with dignity".