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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Detective obtain fetal tissue as part of rape investigation

Spokane police investigating a child rape allegation served a search warrant for an aborted fetus at Planned Parenthood this week.

Detectives obtained a sample of fetal tissue and maternal matter after an abortion that was performed on a 15-year-old girl Wednesday at the East Indiana Avenue clinic.

The girl’s parents had told police on Sept. 9 that they planned to abort the pregnancy, and detectives want to do a DNA test to strengthen the case against the suspected 21-year-old father, who was an acquaintance of the teenage girl.

“I don’t necessarily know how common it is, but it certainly is a method they’ve used,” said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department. “It’s just one more piece of evidence to solidify the case.”

DeRuwe said the evidence will be sent to the state crime lab for DNA testing, which could take several months. The suspect has not been arrested, and the investigation is ongoing, DeRuwe said.

DeRuwe said the search warrant was obtained because of strict medical privacy laws, even though the patient gave permission.

Planned Parenthood declined to answer questions but said in a prepared statement that it is “committed to the privacy of all patients.”

“We are proud to partner with law enforcement in order to protect the health and safety of our patients,” the statement said. “Planned Parenthood strictly follows all local, state and federal laws and regulations including the federal law that protects the privacy of health information and state laws regarding mandatory reporting.”