Granger woman bonds out of jail following newborn death charge

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Charges have been filed against a Granger woman accused of giving birth, and disposing of the body in a Mishawaka dumpster, leaving it to die.

Purvi Patel, 32, was charged late Wednesday afternoon with Neglect of a Dependent - a Class A felony. Less than an hour after the charge came down, Patel posted her $100,000 bond at the St. Joseph County Jail.

According to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, on Saturday July 13, at approximately 9:24 p.m., Patel entered the emergency room at the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka.

She was bleeding from her vaginal area. The emergency room personnel believed that she had recently delivered a child. However, Patel outright denied it.

Patel was then transported to the Maternity Floor for further diagnosis and treatment. The treating Obstetrician, Dr. Tracy Byrne examined Patel and found an umbilical cord was protruding.

It was Dr. Byrne's opinion that Patel had just delivered a child. Dr. Byrne again advised Patel that she had just delivered a baby, but Patel again denied that she had even been pregnant.

Dr. Byrne requested a second opinion because Patel was so adamant about not being pregnant. Dr. Kelly McGuire also examined Patel and was positive the 32-year-old had just delivered a child.
Concerned for the child's welfare, doctors continued to question Patel, who eventually told them she had delivered a baby in her Granger home along the 14300 block of Northampton Dr. However, she claimed she did not see the child breathing or moving and believed it to be dead.

Patel told the medical staff she put the dead body in a bag and placed it in a dumpster behind the Super Target in Mishawaka. She further told medical personnel she was roughly two months along and had a miscarriage.

It was the doctors' professional opinion that Patel was much further along than two months. Based upon their examination, it’s believed that she had been 28 to 30 weeks post fertilization.

Fearing for the child, Dr. McGuire then drove to the Super Target and began searching dumpsters. He also called the St. Joseph County Police, who joined in the search. After searching numerous dumpsters, officers located the body in a dumpster behind Moe's Southwest Grill, which Patel owns.

Dr. McGuire examined the body and determined it was deceased. While the child was pre-mature and roughly 30 weeks from conception, Dr. McGuire’s external examination noted no reason why the child would not have survived, but cautioned it was based only upon an external examination.

On Monday July 15, Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Joseph Prahlow began the autopsy and performed a physical examination of the body. He found the body was 12.2" long and weighed 1.46 pounds. However, he noted the weight was not the same as the time of birth because the body was emptied of much of the blood since the umbilical cord had not been closed or clamped.

He further determined the child was pre-mature, but at least 28 weeks from conception. Dr. Prahlow further concluded the child had been born alive and had taken a breath.

Officers secured a search warrant for Patel’s phone and were able to download text messages she’d had with at least one friend. Officers discovered that on June 19, 2013, Patel admitted she was over 60 days pregnant. Patel also admitted she’d obtained two drugs from Hong Kong, in an attempt to abort the child.

According to Dr. McGuire, one of the drugs Patel admitted taking would induce labor, thereby ending her pregnancy. The other drug was designed to end the life of a fetus, but only if it was within nine-weeks-old. Dr. McGuire advised officers that this second drug would have no effect on a fetus that was 28 or more weeks along. Dr. Prahlow determined the fetus was alive before Patel began taking the drugs.

As part of her bond conditions, Patel will be placed on pre-trial supervision with electronic monitoring. She will be prohibited from leaving St. Joseph County without prior approval of the court, and must forfeit her passport to the court.

Patel will be formally arraigned Thursday, July 18 at 1:15 p.m. at the St. Joseph County courthouse. If convicted for Neglect of a Dependent, she could be sentenced between 20-50 years in state prison.