Granger woman accused in newborn's death now charged with feticide
Prosecutors filed a second charge against a Granger woman accused of throwing her baby in a dumpster. She's now facing a feticide charge alongside the previously-filed felony neglect of a dependent charge.
The feticide is charged as a Class B felony, meaning it is less serious than the Class A felony neglect charge. The neglect charge carries more prison time than feticide, but feticide supports prosecutor's argument that Patel intended to kill her unborn child.
A jury could choose to convict her on one of those two charges, both of them, or it could acquit her.
Documents inside the court file for Patel's case show the state so far has subpoenaed 26 witnesses to testify against her if the case goes to trial - including 19 police officers, 3 doctors and 2 nurses.
The state also issued a subpoena for a man named Omero De Leon. According to his Facebook page, he's a manager at Moe's Southwest Grill.
That restaurant is where investigators made the gruesome discovery in July 2013. They found a baby boy's body in a dumpster behind Moe's. Patel's family owned that franchise at the time but it's unclear if it still does.
According to court documents, a pathologist estimates Patel was around 6 1/2 or 7 months pregnant when she delivered the baby. Investigators also say she bought and consumed drugs from Hong Kong to force her body to have an abortion.
Prosecutors charged Patel with felony neglect five days after police found the newborn and reportedly admitted it was hers.
She turned herself in at the St. Joseph County jail then immediately paid $9,995 bond to get out. A judge confiscated Patel's passport, ordered her to wear a GPS monitoring device and not to leave St. Joseph County. Last November, the judge said Patel no longer had to wear the device.
Her trial is slated to begin September 29. A judge ordered a hearing in the case for Aug. 26.
Earlier this summer, Patel's lawyer mentioned in court that his client was considering a plea offer from the state, but attorneys did not discuss specifics about that offer in court. So far, according to court documents, Patel has not accepted it.