Woman on Trial for Self-Aborting 25-Week-Old Baby: Infant Was Likely Suffocated to Death

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 30, 2015   |   1:16PM   |   Washington, DC

The trial of Indiana resident Purvi Patel continues this week and a forensic pathologist has testified in the case about the state of the 25-week-old baby Patel killed when she took an abortion drug to induce an abortion.

Patel was arrested last July after she took abortion pills to kill her baby and she 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 investigator said Patel denied giving birth. She was then taken to the maternity floor for further diagnosis and treatment.

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.

Officers eventually found the newborn’s body in a trash bin behind Moe’s Southwest Grill.

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A forensic pathologist also took the stand Wednesday, testifying he believed the baby was 25 weeks gestation, meaning Patel was about 6 months pregnant when she delivered:

Dr. Joseph Prahlow pointed to specific tests he performed on the lungs that showed they filled with air.

Prahlow also told the jury he ruled the cause of death homicide and the manner of death ‘homicidal violence’ – saying he was unable to determine whether the baby died from blood loss, asphyxiation, extreme warm or cold temperatures or a combination of the three.

Investigators have said from the beginning Patel took abortion drugs she ordered online. The state also admitted into evidence Wednesday a redacted email receipt from an international pharmacy sent to Patel’s email and an online search history from Patel’s iPad.

The state plans to call a crime scene technician and another medical expert Thursday and there’s a possibility the state could also rest its case.

Patel’s lawyer, Jeff Sanford, has indicated he intends to call at least one medical expert as a witness. Sanford has said in the past, his expert does not believe Prahlow performed the proper tests to determine Patel’s baby was born alive. It is unclear if Patel will take the stand in her own defense.