Infant death leads to arrest

From local sources

MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon infant’s death in December resulted in a Vanderburgh County woman’s arrest Friday for practicing nurse-midwifery without a license.

Indiana State Police arrested 64-year-old Alice M. Gates at 8:15 a.m. CDT at her Middle Mount Vernon Road home outside of Evansville on the Class D felony.

Police initiated a criminal investigation Dec. 21 after receiving information an infant had been transported by ambulance from a home in rural Posey County to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Evansville. The infant, who was later identified as Mara McDonald, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

The mother, Annika McDonald, 21, of Mount Vernon, started to receive prenatal care with Gates, who claimed to be a midwife, about nine weeks into her pregnancy, police said. McDonald was also seen by a physician on two separate occasions. Police said the mother never had an ultrasound or any blood tests during her pregnancy.

Gates was summoned to the McDonald residence at approximately 2 a.m. Dec. 20 after McDonald began to experience labor pains. Approximately two hours later, McDonald gave birth to her daughter. Gates was present during the birth but left the residence about two hours later, according to law enforcement.

At approximately 3 p.m. Dec. 20, the parents summoned Gates back to their residence because their daughter was having difficulty breathing. Gates allegedly examined the infant and determined the respiratory distress wasn’t severe and that the parents could continue to watch their child at home or take her to a hospital. The parents decided to keep their child at home and continue to monitor her condition.

During the early-morning hours Dec. 21, both parents noticed their newborn daughter had stopped breathing and summoned an ambulance. Medical personnel attempted to revive the infant, but they were unsuccessful.

An autopsy revealed Mara McDonald’s death was caused by respiratory arrest due to acute lobar pneumonia.

Further investigation revealed Gates did not have a license to practice as a nurse-midwife. She was booked into the Posey County Jail after her arrest but was later released on bond.

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