Savanna Greywind: Missing pregnant woman's body found wrapped in plastic

Posted at 9:21 AM, Aug 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 09:21:54-04

FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- A suspect in the death of a pregnant woman initially claimed the woman gave up her newborn daughter but later admitted taking advantage of her to get the child, according to court documents filed Monday that shed no light on how the woman died.

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Brooke Crews, 38, and her boyfriend William Hoehn, 32, were each charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of 22-year-old Savanna Greywind. But the brief charging summary does not reveal how police and prosecutors believe Greywind died.

Greywind, who was eight months pregnant when she disappeared Aug. 19, was the subject of several large searches before her body was spotted by kayakers Sunday night in the Red River near Fargo, wrapped in plastic and duct tape.

"Savanna was a victim of a cruel and vicious act of depravity," Fargo police Chief David Todd said.

The complaint offers conflicting stories from the two suspects. Crews told police she arranged to have Greywind come to her apartment on Aug. 19 and told her how to induce labor. Greywind came back two days later to give her the newborn baby, Crews said.

"Crews admitted she had taken advantage of Savanna Greywind in an attempt to obtain her child and possibly keep the child as her own," the complaint said.

But Hoehn told police a different story, according to the documents. He said he came home Aug. 19 to find Crews cleaning up blood in their bathroom. Hoehn says Crews presented him with an infant baby girl and said: "This is our baby. This is our family."

Hoehn told police he took garbage bags containing bloody shoes and his bloody towels and disposed of them away from the apartment complex, according to the documents.

Crews and Hoehn are also charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and giving false information to police. They didn't enter pleas during a court hearing Monday. Bond was set at $2 million for each of the suspects.

Neither showed much emotion, although Hoehn objected to the bail amount as "unattainable for any regular person."

Their court-appointed attorneys, Stormy Vickers for Hoehn and Monty Mertz for Crews, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Family members declined to comment outside the courtroom. Amanda Vivier, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, said she struggled with her emotions during the hearing. Greywind was also a member of the tribe.

"I have a lot of anger," said Vivier, spiritual director for the Native American Christian Ministry, a church frequented by the Greywind family. "I've got a lot of questions that I don't know how to process."

The two suspects were neighbors of Greywind. Authorities recovered her body from the Red River on Sunday night, three days after finding the newborn. The girl, who was in good health, was with Crews when she was arrested.

Police say Crews and Hoehn acknowledged it is Greywind's child, but say they are doing DNA testing to be sure.

At the same time Greywind's body was found, Todd said, a farmstead on the Minnesota side of the river that is the border between that state and North Dakota was being searched and suspicious items were found that led authorities to believe it might be a crime scene.

Todd did not say whether there were signs of trauma to Greywind's body, which was undergoing an autopsy in Minnesota's Ramsey County.

A memorial was started on Monday on the steps of the apartment building where Greywind lived with her parents and where she was last seen alive.

It included flowers, candles, stuffed animals and a portrait of a young Native American woman with the inscription: "May the stars carry your sadness away, may the flowers fill your heart with beauty, may hope forever wipe away your tears, and above all, may silence make you strong!"