By Dave Andrusko
On Monday St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley granted Purvi Patel a fourth continuance, meaning the trial of the woman accused of taking abortifacients to induce an abortion and then dumping the body of her 28-30 week-old baby behind her family’s restaurant, will not go to trial June 4.
Patel gave birth in July, according to prosecutors, and “left the infant in a Dumpster in Mishawaka after attempting to abort it with drugs she ordered from Hong Kong,” the Tribune’s Madeline Buckley reported.
Patel, 32, is accused of neglect of a dependent, a Class A felony. She’d appeared Monday with her attorney Jeff Sanford to decide whether her case could go to trial June 4. She faces 20-50 years in jail, if convicted.
According to the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune, Sanford told Judge Hurley that “he is awaiting news from an expert he hired to examine the case.”
In asking for more time, Sanford said he had a conference call scheduled next week with the expert. “I will have a better idea of where we are going after that,” he said. What the “expert” will testify to or about was not made clear.
WSBT-TV secured a court affidavit which documented that when Patel went to an emergency room at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center July 13, 2013, doctors believed she had recently delivered a child.
After Patel denied giving birth, she was taken to the maternity floor for further diagnosis and treatment, according to the affidavit. WSBT-TV went on to report
“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.
“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.”
An autopsy was performed by forensic Pathologist Dr. Joseph Prahlow who concluded the child had been born alive and had taken a breath.
Patel sent text messages admitting to a friend she was over 60 days pregnant in June of 2013, according to the affidavit, and that she had obtained two drugs from Hong Kong in an attempt to abort the child.
Patel told the friend she began taking the drugs on July 10.