Police demand DNA of staff at facility where woman in vegetative state had baby after being sexually assaulted

A woman in a vegetative state who had a baby after she was sexually assaulted at a long-term care facility is recovering in hospital with her child, police have said.

Authorities have issued a search warrant to get DNA from all male staff members at the facility near Phoenix, Arizona.

The victim, who has not been named, gave birth on December 29 at Hacienda HealthCare.

She had been in a vegetative state for more than 10 years after a near-drowning experience.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Sergeant Tommy Thompson said: "She was not in a position to give consent to any of this.

"So if anyone can understand that, this was a helpless victim who was sexually assaulted."

He confirmed the baby was in distress following the birth, but staff members of the facility were there when the baby was born and it was a natural birth.

Sergeant Thompson said police will get a court order if anyone declines to submit DNA samples.

He also said that anyone who knew about the pregnancy but failed to report it could face charges. Staff have denied knowing about it until the birth.

A spokesperson for Phoenix Police, Sergeant Tommy Thompson, held a news conference on Wednesday. Credit: PA

The Hacienda facility serves infants, children and young adults who are "medically fragile" or have developmental disabilities, its website says.

Its chief executive resigned earlier this week.

"We will continue to cooperate with Phoenix police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation," the company said in a statement.

Some criticised authorities for not speaking out earlier or calling the case a sexual assault.

But Sergeant Thompson said investigators initially didn’t want to say anything that could cause a suspect to "go underground or go into hiding."

A lawyer for the woman’s family said they were outraged at the "neglect of their daughter" and asked for privacy.

"The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for," Phoenix attorney John Micheaels said in a statement.