Purvi Patel was arrested last July after she took abortion pills to end her 28-30 weeks pregnancy. Patel later admitted to police that she had placed the newborn in a dumpster behind a local restaurant, which her family owns. The infant was dead at the time the baby was found.
According to a court affidavit released on to WSBT, a South Bend police investigator said Patel went to the emergency room at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center on July 13. Doctors there believed she had recently delivered a child.
The officer said Patel eventually told medical staff she had delivered a baby in her Granger home and that she did not see the child breathing or moving and believed it was dead. Patel then told doctors she put the baby’s body in a bag and placed the baby in a trash bin behind the Super Target in Mishawaka.
Patel allegedly told doctors she was roughly two months along and had a miscarriage. But upon further examination doctors determined that Patel was probably 28 to 30 weeks into her pregnancy.
Fearing for the child, the affidavit says that an emergency room doctor drove to the Super Target and started searching the Dumpsters. He called St. Joseph County police, who joined in the search. Officers then found the newborn’s body in a trash bin behind Moe’s Southwest Grill.
Now, Patel’s attorney is seeking the dismissal of a feticide charge she faces in the death of her baby. From a local news report:
The defense attorney for 33-year-old Purvi Patel of Granger also argued in a court filing that investigators improperly questioned her in a hospital without reminding her of her legal (Miranda) rights.
Patel also faces child neglect charges over the death of the infant, whose body was found outside a Mishawaka restaurant in July 2013. Court documents say Patel told doctors the baby was stillborn, but a pathologist ruled the infant was born alive.
The South Bend Tribune reports that defense attorney Jeff Sanford also wants the judge to not allow images of the baby in the trash bin during Patel’s trial, claiming that the gruesome images could unfairly “inflame the passions of the jury” against her.
Patel also claims in the court documents that an expert witness did not support his conclusions with “proper scientific methods.”
Documents also allege Patel took drugs ordered from Hong Kong to try to abort the pregnancy. Patel has pleaded not guilty to the neglect charge.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mark Roule said the state has made it clear since October it intended to file a feticide charge if the case went to trial. He said the two charges stemmed from the same set of facts and spurred no new discovery specifically related to feticide.
Indiana law defines feticide as knowingly or intentionally terminating a human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus. Feticide carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Neglect carries a maximum sentence of 50 years.
Mike Fichter of Indiana Right to Life told LifeNews: “This sad situation highlights the need for greater public awareness of the life-saving Safe Haven Law. Indiana, like many other states, allows a mother or other caregiver to give up a child at a police station, fire station or emergency room with no questions asked. Every child deserve a chance. The Safe Haven Law gives a child a future and a mother an option to leave the child without facing legal consequences as seen in this current case.”