Indiana Woman Charged With Felony Neglect of Dependent After Fetus Found in Dumpster


Purvi Patel, an Indiana woman preliminarily charged with feticide, has been officially charged with felony neglect of a dependent following an investigation of a deceased fetus allegedly found in a shopping center dumpster; a forensic pathologist claims the fetus took a breath before it died.

Under Indiana law, feticide, a class B felony, applies in cases when someone “knowingly or intentionally terminates a human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus” and carries an 8- to 20-year prison sentence. Felony neglect is a class A felony and carries a 20- to 50-year prison sentence.

According to the affidavit, the prosecution claims that Patel “having the care of a dependent, did knowingly place that dependent in a situation that endangered the dependent’s life or health by failing to provide any medical care for that dependent immediately after the dependent’s birth, resulting in the death of that dependent, who was less than fourteen (14) years old.”

The charging document states that Patel arrived at the hospital bleeding vaginally, but refused to admit to the physician examining her that she had given birth. A second physician, Dr. Kelly McGuire, was brought in to examine her, and after agreeing that Patel recently gave birth, questioned her about “the whereabouts of the child.”

She told the medical staff she delivered at home but did not see the fetus breathing or moving. She said she placed the body in a bag and put the bag in a dumpster. Although Patel stated she thought she was about two months pregnant, Dr. McGuire believed she was at least 28 weeks pregnant. According to the police report:

Fearing for the child, Dr. McGuire then drove to the Super Target and began searching in the dumpsters.

Dr. McGuire examined the body after he and police located the bag, estimated the age of the deceased fetus to be “roughly thirty weeks from conception,” and “noted no reason why the child would not have survived, but cautioned that it was based only upon an external examination,” according to police. A forensic pathologist estimated the fetus to be 28 weeks post-conception and “concluded that in his opinion, the child had been born alive and had taken a breath.”

According to the affidavit, in texts found after police examined Patel’s phone, Patel stated that she had taken drugs to try to end the pregnancy. One drug, which she said she began taking on July 10, was meant to cause contractions. The second, according to Dr. McGuire, would have had no effect on a fetus as advanced as Patel’s, as it was only meant for terminating pregnancies before nine weeks.

Patel pled not guilty, and now has 60 days to change her plea if she chooses. She must return for a court hearing on July 31, according to Fox 28, and will have a subsequent court date on September 26. Until then, she has had her passport removed and will be under electronic surveillance.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty

  • Ella Warnock

    W00t, shout-out from Stanek’s site for calling the fetus, well . . . a fetus. Way to point out the obvious, there.

    • Faye Valentine

      FETUS:
      Noun
      An unborn or unhatched offspring of a mammal, in particular an unborn human baby more than eight weeks after conception.

      Umm…yeah. This offspring was BORN, therefore an INFANT or NEONATE.

      ne·o·nate
      /ˈnēəˌnāt/

      Noun
      A newborn child or mammal.
      An infant less than four weeks old.
      Way to fail basic vocabulary and science, simultaneously. But I guess in Pro-Abortion Land, the Whim of The Mother determines legal status AND changes facts and the definitions of basic terms.

      • Ella Warnock

        Perhaps the law should be more accurate, then, and refer to a “homicide” rather than a “feticide.”
        Because it’s not a fetus anymore, right? “Homicide” should suffice, and
        would not be quite as inflammatory as “feticide.” I’m sure all of you In Anti-Choice land would support a more precise description, no?

        Nice to see you here, x.

        • Faye Valentine

          “Perhaps the law should be more accurate, then, and refer to a ‘homicide’ rather than a ‘feticide.’.”

          I believe that’s why they changed the charge after the medical examiner had the chance to examine the body.

          “Because it’s not a fetus anymore, right? ‘Homicide’ should suffice, and would not be quite as inflammatory as ‘feticide.’ I’m sure all of you In Anti-Choice land would support a more precise description, no?”

          Well, here in the Real World, where whims of parents don’t change definitions, it would be considered homicide even if the person in question was still in the fetal stage of development. But sometimes justice and law lag behind precise scientific definition. Such is the fight for human rights in so many different instances.

          “At this point, yes, it is her decision. That may or may not change in the future, and I’m well aware that it’s your fondest wish that it does.”

          Not just MY fondest wish, but the wish of my daughter, too! I’m counting on her and her children to help in this endeavor, even though we hope it doesn’t take that long! You’d be surprised to find what subsequent generations are capable of when allowed to live instead of being aborted because it makes your life easier for you.

          “Nice to see you here, x. Don’t be a stranger.”

          Get off it. I’m sure you don’t really mean that. But thank you for your welcome, all the same. ^_^

          • Ella Warnock

            Actually, I did mean it. You could be to RH what “Reality” is to Stanek’s site. Except that you would be right, of course (tongue planted firmly in cheek). ;-)

          • Arekushieru

            Actually it was the Pro-LIFE side that wanted to call it feticide. WHOOPS.

            Yes, and we’re fighting to make sure ALL people have basic human rights, unlike the Pro-‘Life’ side who want fetuses to have MORE rights than anyone born, ESPECIALLY women. Is that why they make so many mistakes with definitions and basic terms? Such as calling a fetus a human being/person, when scientific textbooks only EVER call a fetus human/human being? Hmm…?

            And abortion, itself, would only be homicide, IF you wanted to change the definitions of words and only IF you wanted to blame a woman for an accident of biology. Which, of course, ALL Pro-‘Lifers’ want to do.

            My mother is Pro-CHOICE because she CHOSE to have me. MORE evidence that Pro-‘Life’ is the ONLY side that likes to change definitions to suit their agenda. After all, being Pro-Choice does NOT mean someone who has never had a child. I.T. N.E.V.E.R. H.A.S! So, is it time for you to rethink WHO are the ones who like to change definitions to suit themselves? I CERTAINLY think so.

            Finally, pregnancy is not merely inconvenient. And, if you have been pregnant, you should KNOW that. Not only does it point out how Pro-‘Life’ is not really about life, but about punishing women for daring to have sex for reasons other than procreation, it also points out how you think rape is just a ‘walk in the park’. After all, pregnancy is not only the SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH for women, worldwide (and rape, by itself, probably stands near the bottom of the list) but causes greater and much longer-lasting harm, is of much LONGER duration and makes women more vulnerable to injury AND more prone to subsequent violence. You are SICK.

            And, if you are willing to force your daughter to continue a pregnancy (which is the ONLY difference between Pro-‘Life’ and Pro-Choice), then I am so glad that I have a mother whom I know ACTUALLY loves me BECAUSE she is Pro-CHOICE. WHOOPS.

          • fiona64

            Well, here in the Real World, where whims of parents don’t change
            definitions, it would be considered homicide even if the person in
            question was still in the fetal stage of development.

            Here in the real world, fetii are not persons.

            Here in the real world, homicide is not used as a synonym for murder. Pro-tip: suicide and manslaughter are also homicides.

            Here in the real world, we understand that pro-choice encompasses all choices: contraception use or non-use, gestation or termination, adoption or rearing alone or with a partner of one’s choice.

            Here in the real world, we know women are smart enough to know their situations and don’t need paternalistic meddling in their reproductive decisions.

            Here in the real world, rights belong to the born, sapient, sentient woman. Here in the real world, if you afford rights to a fetus you must necessarily abrogate the rights of the pregnant woman.

            Here in the real world, that is called slavery.

      • Arekushieru

        Nope, that would be Pro-‘Lifers’, not Pro-CHOICERS.