Los Angeles Police Investigating Threats to Octuplet Mom
February 13, 2009 - 5:14 AM<br />
Word that the 33-year-old single, unemployed mother is receiving public assistance to care for the 14 children she conceived through in vitro fertilization has stoked furor among many people.
Police Lt. John Romero said officers were meeting with Suleman's publicist Mike Furtney about the flood of angry phone calls and e-mail messages against Suleman, her children and Furtney.
"We are aware of the media accounts of the threats, and that they are being sent to the West Los Angeles detectives for appropriate action," Romero said.
Furtney said 500 new e-mails were received early Thursday.
"We're talking to the Los Angeles Police Department to get their best advice as to how to regard these messages," he said as the phone in his office rang constantly.
He is also consulting with a security professional to get advice on any precautions that might need to be taken.
Suleman is living in an undisclosed location and spends time with all her kids every day, Furtney said. The octuplets are expected to remain in the hospital for several more weeks.
Not all the calls have been angry. One family from the Midwest has invited Suleman and her brood to live on their farm, Furtney said.
"One thing that keeps me from jumping out the window is that we've heard from many people offering some kind of support: clothing, food, financial or other help," he said.
Suleman has been supporting her six other children with $490 a month in food stamps and receives Social Security disability payments for three of the youngsters that could total $2,379 a month.
She has estimated her in vitro fertilization procedures have cost $100,000.
Suleman has said she saved for the treatments by working double shifts and also used money from a disability award exceeding $165,000 that she received after an on-the-job back injury.
The benefits were discontinued last year.
The Suleman octuplets' medical costs have not been disclosed, but in 2006, the average cost for a premature baby's hospital stay in California was $164,273, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Eight times that equals $1.3 million.
For a single mother, the cost of raising 14 children through age 17 ranges from $1.3 million to $2.7 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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