Nathan Sutherland, the 36-year-old nurse accused of raping a woman while she was in a vegetative state at a long-term nursing facility in Arizona, is a family man and weekly churchgoer, his onetime neighbor says.
That ex-neighbor, Esella Burr, who lived near the suspect and his family for roughly five years, recalled seeing Sutherland head off to Sunday church services with his wife every week, she told The Associated Press.
The suspect, who Burr said lived at the Phoenix-area residence with his spouse and four children until October, would occasionally wave or chat, she said. Sutherland also reportedly said that he liked his job.
Sutherland was arrested and will be charged with sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse after the woman in his care at the Hacienda Healthcare facility in Phoenix gave birth last month, officials announced Wednesday.
Employing “good old-fashioned police work,” authorities made the apprehension after using DNA testing on the baby to find a match, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said at the news conference.
The 29-year-old victim gave birth to a boy at the facility on Dec. 29. Employees at the time said they had no idea she was pregnant. The woman’s last known physical was in April, according to court records.
"We may not know how many times this occurred," Phoenix police spokesman Tommy Thompson told reporters.
Investigators obtained a court order to collect DNA from Sutherland, which was compared to DNA from the infant.
The suspect did not enter a plea during a court appearance on Wednesday. A Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner ordered him released on a cash-only $500,000 bond. He must also wear an electronic monitoring device.
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and The Associated Press contributed to this report.