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DNA tests at clinic where woman in coma gave birth

Supports testing: Hacienda Healthcare and former CEO Bill Timmons PICTURE: AP

DNA tests are taking place to discover the father of a baby born to a woman in a long-term coma who was sexually assaulted at a clinic.

The woman, who has been in a vegetative state after almost drowning ten years ago, is at an Arizona hospital with her son who was born on December 29. Her family will care for the baby.

Commenting for the first time, police said they have not ruled anything out and are gathering DNA samples from the long-term care facility where she was being treated.

Phoenix police spokesman Tommy Thompson said: ‘She was not in a position to give consent to any of this. So if anyone can understand that, this was a helpless victim who was sexually assaulted.’

The 29-year-old victim is a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe. Its chairman, Terry Rambler, said: ‘Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her. It is my hope justice will be served.’

Police were criticised for not speaking out earlier, but the force said investigators didn’t want to say anything that could cause a suspect to ‘go underground’.

Hacienda Healthcare, which operates the clinic, said it supported the testing of its male workers. The company’s CEO Bill Timmons resigned on Monday. The company said: ‘We will continue to cooperate with Phoenix police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation.’

It appears no staff knew about the pregnancy until the birth, police said, but anyone who failed to report it could face charges.

New safety measures have been introduced, including increased staff during any patient interaction and extra security around visitors.