Woman Who Killed Her Unborn Baby at 25 Weeks, Threw Infant in Dumpster May Go Free

State   Steven Ertelt   Aug 24, 2016   |   12:40PM    Indianapolis, IN

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.

After a court overturned her convicted and prison sentence, Patel may no go free.

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.

In February 2015, a judge sentenced Purvi Patel to 20 years in prison for her crimes. But, in a shocking decision, an appeals court overturned the conviction. Now, attorneys for the state say they do not plan to appeal the decision overturning the sentence and Patel may now go free as a result.

A deadline for the attorney general’s office to ask the Indiana Supreme Court to take up the state Court of Appeals ruling that reversed Purvi Patel’s feticide conviction passed Monday without such a request. Patel’s attorneys also did not ask the court to weigh in on the July ruling.

Patel appealed her 2015 feticide and child neglect convictions that resulted in a 20-year prison sentence. In its ruling, the appeals court vacated both of those convictions. But it found that Patel, 35, should be resentenced on a lower-level child neglect charge that carries a maximum three-year sentence.

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Patel’s attorney, Larry Marshall, said the reasoning laid out in the appeals court’s unanimous ruling “was really unassailable, so I’m very pleased the state didn’t drag things out just for the sake of dragging things out.”

“I hope now that we’ll get to a point where Purvi will be able to put this nightmare behind her and hopefully get on with her life,” Marshall, a Stanford University law professor, said Tuesday.

In a statement, Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the state decided not to seek a rehearing before the appeals court or ask Indiana’s high court to consider the case “after carefully reviewing” the ruling and consulting with local prosecutors.

He said they “concluded that further appeal would not be productive and that resolving the case now will serve the interests of justice.”

After a re-sentencing hearing, Patel could actually go free next month and not serve any additional jail time.

Marshall said he expects the appeals court decision to be certified within about 10 days. After that, the St. Joseph County trial court judge will set a resentencing hearing.

If that judge sentences Patel to the maximum three years, Marshall said she actually would face an 18-month sentence because of credit for good behavior.

Under that sentence, Patel could potentially be released as early as late September because she has already served about 17 months, Marshall said.

The case began on July 13, 2013 when Patel went to the emergency room at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, a South Bend police officer said, according to a court affidavit released to WSBT. 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.

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.

Patel’s case has drawn national media attention. Ignoring the fact that Patel took her own child’s life, abortion advocates have decried the sentence and Patel’s prosecution.

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