Patel feticide case goes to jury


By Dave Andrusko

Purvi Patel

Purvi Patel

Editor’s note. This updates a story posted this morning.

According to a tweet from WSBT’s Kelli Stopczynski, the feticide case against Purvi Patel went to the jury at 3:11 this afternoon.

Patel stands accused of taking abortifacients in July 2013 and then depositing the body of her dead 25-30 week-old baby into a dumpster in back of Moe’s Southwest Grill, the family restaurant.

The defense presented its case beginning late last week.

Pathologist Shaku Teas told the court that Purvi Patel’s baby was stillborn. “The infant’s lungs were not developed enough to breathe, and, by Teas’ calculation, the fetus was only at 23 or 24 weeks gestation,” according to Amanda Gray, a reporter for the South Bend Tribune.

“She questioned ‘homicidal violence’ as cause of death, stating that there wasn’t enough evidence to conclude the baby died from exposure, asphyxiation or blood loss — three possible ‘mechanisms’ of death that [pathologist Joseph] Prahlow noted.”

Prahlow presumably was being recalled to demonstrate why Teas’ conclusions about the baby’s age and how the baby died are incorrect.

The prosecution has presented testimony from a variety of sources. Dr. Kelly McGuire, an obstetrician, testified he was called in to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center on July 13, 2013, to give a second opinion on Patel. Patel had been admitted to the labor and delivery unit bleeding with a protruding umbilical cord.

“This was not a simple miscarriage,” he testified. ”I drew a conclusion that there should have been a baby at the end of the umbilical cord.”

WNDU’s Mark Peterson reported that Dr. McGuire “became convinced that Patel had given birth to a baby who was out there somewhere and in need of help.”

Peterson added, “Dr. McGuire testified that, given the size of Patel’s umbilical cord and the position of her placenta, he fully expected to find a live baby.”

WSBT’s Stopczynski reported that McGuire told jurors that he learned that Patel had

told another doctor she’d put the baby in a dumpster behind Super Target in Mishawaka.

Then, McGuire rushed there in his own car.

“I thought time was of the essence and if they found the baby then potentially I could help with the resuscitation if needed,” he testified.

“Did you believe this baby could still be alive?” asked deputy prosecuting attorney Mark Roule.

“Yes,” McGuire replied.

According to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Aimee Herring, Patel began texting her friend about an irregular menstrual cycle and cramping. Patel did not take her friend’s advice to see a doctor. The texts continued into June when Patel took a pregnancy test, which was positive.

Stopczynski then reported

On June 10, Patel text messaged her friend about ordering abortion pills from an “international pharmacy,” and when the friend asked Patel three more times to see a doctor, she replied, “I’d rather not even go to a doc. I just want to get this over with,” Herring said.

According to text messages, the pills arrived at Moe’s Southwest Grill in Mishawaka – a restaurant Patel’s family owns – in early July. But Patel waited to take those pills until July 10, continuing to provide a detailed account of her situation to her friend, Herring told the jury.

“BTW, these pills taste like sh**. If these pills don’t work…I’m gonna be mad,” the text messages allegedly said.

Then on July 13, Patel text messaged her friend, “Just lost the baby. I’m gonna clean up the bathroom and then go to Moe’s.”

That’s where investigators have said they ultimately found the baby, in a dumpster, wrapped in plastic bags.