2:02 PM PDT, November 5, 2021
A patient in a Florida mental health unit is facing a manslaughter charge after he allegedly attacked a pregnant nurse causing the death of her unborn baby, officials said, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
Joseph Wuerz, 53, was arrested and charged with homicide of an unborn child, aggravated battery on a first responder and aggravated battery on a pregnant victim, according to the arrest report.
Wuerz is being held at Seminole County Jail. His bonds total $90,000, according to sheriff’s office online records.
A clerk at the Seminole County Clerk of the Courts told Inside Edition Digital that there has been no attorney assigned on the case yet, and Wuerz’s next hearing date is Jan. 11 at 9 a.m.
The harrowing incident took place on Saturday at the Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital, according to Longwood police.
Police said the nurse was giving medication to a patient in the behavioral health unit of the hospital when Wuerz, “entered the room and attacked her,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.
According to the arrest report, Wuerz allegedly shoved the nurse into the wall and repeatedly kicked her. She was 32 weeks pregnant at the time of the attack.
It took several staff members and security officers to remove Wuerz from the room, officials said, according to The Washington Post. The nurse told investigators that Wuerz was not one of her patients and that he did not speak during the alleged attack, the news oulet reported.
On Saturday, Wuerz was held at the hospital under the Baker Act, a Florida law that allows people allegedly with mental illness to be committed to a health institution for 72 hours under certain criteria, the Post reported.
The nurse was treated at Winnie Palmer Hospital. At the hospital is when the mom-to-be sadly learned that her baby did not have a heartbeat, the arrest report said, the Orlando-Sentinel reported.
The nurse told police that before she was attacked, she had no previous medical issues with her pregnancy and that her pregnancy was progressing normally, the news outlet reported.
She told police that she “believes the stress she was under during the attack may have caused her unborn child’s death,” the arrest report stated.
The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office plans to perform an autopsy on the baby, the Post reported.