Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Two Deaths -- The Second Straight Out of a Horror Story

Morris Wortman
Scant Information From 1989

The March 1990 Bernadell Technical Bulletin says that 17-year-old Glenna Jean Fox underwent a second trimester abortion at the hands of Dr. Morris Wortman in January of 1989. Glenna Jean continued to bleed for two days after this second-trimester abortion. She was taken to an emergency room but died from shock several hours later on January 19.

1993: The Body and the Trunk

Like the deaths of Jacqueline Smith and Barbara Lofrumento, the story of Angela Sanchez involves illegal abortion and attempts to hide the body. The difference is that Alicia Hannah's abortion clinic was operating openly and apparently legally.

On January 19, 1993, Angela Sanchez, age 27, went to Clinica Feminina de la Comunidad with two of her four children: 12-year-old Maria, and 2-year-old Victor. Maria and Victor waited for their mother in the lobby. A clinic staffer approached Maria and suggested that she take the car and drive Victor home. Maria protested that she was too young to drive. The children continued to wait for their mother.

At around noon, a staffer took the children to lunch. When they returned to the clinic, Angela's car was gone, and Maria was told that her mother had gone to another clinic. The children continued to wait, but when their mother failed to appear Maria finally called her Uncle Hemiberto, who took them home with him.

By 10:00, Angela's family was frantic, and Angela's sister Celia took Maria to the clinic to look for the missing woman. When they arrived, they saw Angela's car. Maria jumped out of her aunt's pickup truck and ran to the car. There she saw her mother lying on the ground. Maria asked two women from the clinic, who were standing nearby, what had happened to her mother, and they told her, "She's dead." 

Sobbing, Maria clung to and kissed her mother while the two women from the clinic told Celia that a man had shoved Angela from a car and they were picking her up. One of the women, Alicia Ruiz Hanna, who operated the facility, told Maria that her mother had just come knocking on the door, then collapsed.

Celia put her sister's stiffened body in the back of her truck and flagged down a policeman, who led her and Maria to a hospital. There, Celia was told that her sister had been dead for several hours.

After a prolonged investigation, and Hanna's jailhouse conversion to Christianity, the full story finally emerged. Hanna, who had been passing herself off as a doctor and performing abortions at the facility, had given Angela an injection to induce abortion. Angela stopped breathing, and staffers attempted to revive her. One of them even tried to call 911, but Hanna told her employee, "No, I'll save her -- we'll get in trouble" and hung up the phone because she feared that she would go to jail and lose her children if it was discovered that she was running the clinic illegally. She and the other woman had planned to put Angela's stiffening body into the trunk of her own car and abandon the vehicle in Tijuana.

Hanna had originally used doctors to perform the abortions but eventually started doing them herself as a cost-cutting measure.

In December 1994, Hanna was convicted of second-degree murder for Angela's death. She was sentenced to 16 years to life.

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