Yesterday Jennifer Fox claimed that she miscarried her fetus (first on this blog and then to The Stranger) , three months into her pregnancy, five days after police pepper sprayed her at an Occupy Seattle protest. I repeatedly asked if she could provide any medical records to back up her claim—a claim that doctors at Harborview Medical Center said her clash with police caused the miscarriage—but she said she would be in touch with a case worker. Lacking a way to verify her claim (except asking for her records) I said I would follow up.
So I tracked Fox down today at the Occupy Seattle encampment at Seattle Central Community College. Had she contacted anyone at the hospital? “I can’t go to the hospital until Sunday or Monday,” she said. Fox said that she’s having a memorial service for her miscarried baby and one of her fellow occupiers is planning a candlelight vigil, which will consume her time until next week. Can't she get away to the hospital for an hour? “No.” I provided Fox a copy of a records release for the hospital, which she put into her coat, but again Fox said she couldn’t go request her records until next week. I offered her a ride to and from the hospital, but she again refused. I explained to Fox that, lacking any evidence of her claim, her story was increasingly subject to scrutiny.
While sources in general should be given the benefit of the doubt—even if they are homeless women—and there is no evidence that Fox isn't being entirety forthright, her story looks increasingly dubious.
It's worth pointing out that in the Seattlepi.com article last week, the reporter noted that Fox was two months pregnant, when she told me that she was three months pregnant at the time.
UPDATE at 4:18 PM: Acting on an anonymous tip, we heard that Seattle police found Fox in a house nearly nine weeks ago. According to a police report in which the names have been redacted, a suspect who appears to have a three-letter last name "said she is three months pregnant... and began crying when [a suspect] was arrested. [The person with a three-letter last name] began holding her stomach and screaming that it hurt." The woman was transferred to Harborview Medical Center. We are attempting to contact Fox to ask if she is the woman in the police report.
SPD has now provided a statement, saying that no complaint has been filed in the original incident. Seattle police sergeant Sean Whitcomb says: "We are aware of a claim that a pregnant woman who attended the November 15 Occupy Seattle march has been treated for miscarriage. We are also aware that she has attributed the miscarriage to the use of pepper spray and physical contact by Seattle police officers. No formal complaint has been made. Consistent with standard procedure, the Office of Professional Accountability, or OPA, has initiated an internal investigation to look into the matter further. The OPA investigators will be actively searching for any information that will support this claim."