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Nurse Who Cared for Woman Who Gave Birth Is Arrested

Police say DNA from Nathan Sutherland, 36, matched that of baby boy
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2019 10:30 AM CST
Updated Jan 23, 2019 2:33 PM CST

(Newser) – Phoenix police on Wednesday announced an arrest in the case of an incapacitated woman who gave birth in December at Hacienda HealthCare facility. The Arizona Republic reports the Phoenix police crime lab on Tuesday determined the baby boy's DNA matched that of 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland, who was compelled to give up his DNA by a court order. He was a licensed practical nurse at the facility who cared for the 29-year-old victim. Sutherland has been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse. The latest:

  • ABC News reports Sutherland's DNA sample was obtained on Tuesday. The New York Times reports he was employed by Hacienda HealthCare through Tuesday and fired shortly after his arrest.

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  • Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said authorities are investigating whether any of the facility's other residents were sexually assaulted; ABC15 reports Sutherland, whom a former neighbor described as married with four children, had been employed by the facility since 2011.
  • Thompson added that Sutherland invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination upon his request and only submitted to providing the DNA sample after the court order was produced.
  • "From the minute we first became aware of the crime, we have virtually worked nonstop seven days a week to resolve this case," Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said when announcing Sutherland's arrest. Williams cited "good-old police work, combing through evidence, talking to people, and following up on information" as leading them to Sutherland.
  • The Times reports law enforcement began to zero in on Sutherland because he was assigned to care for the woman around when the assault was thought to occur.
  • The AP reports Hacienda described itself as "troubled beyond words" at the thought of an employee harming a patient, and noted Sutherland passed an extensive background check.
  • The AP reports Thompson said the baby boy born Dec. 29 is "doing quite well" and that he believed the infant had been released from a hospital. As for Sutherland, he was ordered held on a cash-only $500,000 bond.
(This victim's parents disputed characterizations that their daughter was in a coma.)

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