Man Charged With Giving Girlfriend Abortion Drug
Manishkumar M. Patel | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- A married man has been charged with attempted murder for slipping his girlfriend a drug that authorities say caused her to miscarry twice.
Manishkumar M. Patel, 34, of Appleton, was charged Thursday afternoon with seven felonies and two misdemeanors, including attempted first-degree murder of an unborn child, stalking, burglary and two counts of violating a restraining order.
His attorney, Thomas Zoesch of Appleton, said he expected his client to plead not guilty.
Manishkumar Patel and his girlfriend, 39-year-old family physician Darshana Patel, have a 3-year-old child together, authorities said. He is married to someone else. Patel is a common Indian last name.
Darshana Patel became pregnant two more times with his child but miscarried in December and September.
About a week or two before her second miscarriage, Manishkumar Patel bought her a smoothie at an ice cream shop, Outagamie County Sheriff's Sgt. Ryan Carpenter said. Darshana Patel noticed white powder on the rim and, feigning illness, took the drink back to her office.
Suspecting she had been slipped mifespristone, the abortion pill also known as RU-486, Darshana Patel sent a sample of the smoothie to a California lab for analysis, Carpenter said.
When it tested positive for the drug, she approached the sheriff's department Nov. 1. Manishkumar Patel was arrested Wednesday.
Outagamie County Court Commissioner Brian Figy ordered Patel held on $750,000 bail after Assistant District Attorney Mark Schroeder said he had a net worth of $400,000 and investigators found evidence he had been looking at flights to Germany.
"The allegations are devious, diabolical and disturbing," Figy said. "Extraordinary cases deserve extraordinary care."
A legal immigrant from India, Manishkumar Patel owns a number of gas stations and other businesses in the Appleton area, Carpenter said.
He had been living in a house owned by Darshana Patel, but they did not live together.
Carpenter said he did not know where Manishkumar Patel's wife was, but investigators do not believe she's in the area.
Manishkumar Patel told investigators he gave his girlfriend the drug but would not give them details on how he did it, Carpenter said. Investigators believe he got the drug outside the U.S. because it must be obtained here from a doctor and taken in the doctor's office, he said.
Wisconsin is one of 37 states with a "fetal homicide" law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Under the 1998 law, anyone who attacks a pregnant woman and injures or kills her fetus could face life in prison.
The law was passed after Tracy Scheide of Milwaukee accused her husband, Glenndale Black, of beating her in 1992 when she was nine months pregnant. Her baby was stillborn.
A jury convicted Black of reckless injury and false imprisonment but acquitted him of violating an old anti-abortion law against causing the death of a fetus.
Black was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Scheide divorced him and lobbied to get the bill passed.
At least six people have been charged with a crime under the law since 1998, according to Susan Armacost, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life. The group tracks use of the law through media reports and because that is not all inclusive, Armacost said it's possible there are more cases that they are unaware of.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)