Purvi Patel was arrested after she took abortion pills to take the life of her viable unborn baby. Patel later admitted to police that, after taking the baby’s life, 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 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, Indiana 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 25-28 weeks into her pregnancy.
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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, she’s been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the crime and will serve 20.
St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley sentenced Patel to a 30-year sentence for the neglect conviction, with 20 to be served in prison and 10 suspended. On the feticide count, Hurley handed down a six-year prison sentence that will overlap with the 20-year term.
Hurley said she looked favorably on Patel’s lack of criminal history and the remorse she showed in a letter to the court. However, Hurley said she was troubled by some of Patel’s actions surrounding the baby’s death.
“You, Ms. Patel, are an educated woman of considerable means. If you wished to terminate your pregnancy safely and legally, you could have done so,” Hurley said. “You planned a course of action and took matters into your own hands.”
Prosecutors wanted Patel to serve a total of 40 years in prison, while her lawyer, Jeff Sanford, asked for the entire sentence to be suspended and served outside of prison.
Although the state asked for a longer prison sentence, St. Joseph County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mark Roule said he respected the court’s decision, adding that the case was difficult for everyone involved.
Ignoring the fact that Patel took her own child’s life and failed to provide him proper medical care or treatment between his birth and subsequent death, abortion advocates have decried the sentence and Patel’s prosecution.