A Florida Man Attacked A Pregnant Woman He Believed Had Coronavirus

Photo: Getty Images.
Police in Cape Coral, FL arrested a man for attacking and beating a pregnant woman because he thought she had the coronavirus. The man, 24-year-old Joseph Newell, was allegedly intoxicated at the time of his arrest and repeatedly rambled to law enforcement about COVID-19. It is unclear whether Newell knew the woman, who so far has remained unnamed. She did, however, tell police that Newell was aware that she was pregnant when he attacked her.
According to arrest reports, the Cape Coral Police Department responded to a call to an apartment complex on Monday night where, after following screams for help, they witnessed Newell “straddling” the woman, who is six months pregnant, with his hands around her throat on one of the breezeways in the complex. Police officers asked Newell to stop, but they reported that he refused and continued to beat the woman. Law enforcement intervened using a “pain compliance” technique to Newell’s neck in order to get him to stop attacking the woman. Upon placing him in handcuffs, he allegedly started slamming his head into the concrete, reports People. 
Photo: Courtesy of Lee County Sheriff's Office.
Shortly after the attack, the woman was taken to the hospital for treatment and observation, though her status is still unknown. In the U.S. instances of violence against pregnant women are quite high. According to a study conducted by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 20% of pregnant women experience violence during their pregnancy. This puts women at a greater risk of being violently harmed than to experience other common medical risks to her pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Another study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 31% of non-medical deaths of pregnant women were the result of homicide. 
Newell has been charged with one count of aggravated battery and is in custody held on a $15,000 bond. Refinery29 reached out to local law enforcement for more information regarding the charges and the woman’s condition. 
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.

More from US News

R29 Original Series