FARGO—A potentially unthinkable story began to reveal itself Thursday, Aug. 24, when the investigation into the disappearance of a pregnant 22-year-old woman resulted in police finding a healthy infant at a north Fargo apartment building where the woman was last seen.
The discovery of the infant, Fargo police said, was followed by the arrest of Brooke Lynn Crews, 38, and William Henry Hoehn, 32, who both lived in the same apartment building as the missing woman, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind.
Crews and Hoehn were arrested and charged with felony conspiracy to commit kidnapping, police said in a Facebook post. They were being held at the Cass County Jail.
LaFontaine-Greywind went missing from the apartment building Saturday afternoon. Her whereabouts remained unknown late Thursday, police said.
At least six investigators were seen donning hazmat suits Thursday night outside the apartment building at 2825 9th St. N., where LaFontaine-Greywind lives with her parents in a basement unit. One investigator with a shovel was seen walking to the back of the building.
On Friday morning, Fargo Police confirmed they had cleared the crime scene. All police tape had been taken down, and people were seen going in and out of the building, including Savanna's family.
Police said initial interviews with Crews and Hoehn led to no leads. But developments in the investigation prompted detectives to execute a search warrant at the apartment of Hoehn and Crews at about 2 p.m. Thursday. Crews and the infant were in the apartment at the time, police said.
The infant was immediately taken to Sanford Children's Hospital. The child was in good health and was placed under the protective custody of Cass County Social Services, police said.
"Our investigation thus far indicates the probability that this is Savanna Greywind's child," police said on Facebook.
Tarita Silk, LaFontaine-Greywind's aunt, told The Forum police told the family that they found a 2-day-old baby in the building. Silk said when police entered the apartment, a woman was heard screaming.
At one point Thursday afternoon, police allowed family members into the apartment building, and they emerged carrying baby clothes and a photograph.
Silk said relatives and friends of the family planned to search for clues near Buffalo River State Park east of Moorhead based on a tip that LaFontaine-Greywind's phone may have "pinged" a cellphone tower in that area. Police later told the family they have no such information about her phone.
Not long before 3 p.m., the apartment building was cordoned off with police tape. Detectives were seen going door-to-door in the neighborhood to ask questions.
Police Chief David Todd asked the public for patience, as "this is at a critical juncture of the investigation, and we want to make sure we are as thorough as possible so we can get correct answers to all the questions people have."
Hoehn was recently arrested on a warrant for an unpaid fine sometime after LaFontaine-Greywind was reported missing. He paid an outstanding balance of the fine related to a violation of a no-contact order that did not involve LaFontaine-Greywind, and he was released from the Cass County Jail on Wednesday. He also plead guilty in 2012 to fracturing his infant son's skull.
Fargo police said that before discovering the baby in the apartment of Hoehn and Crews on Thursday, investigators conducted three unsuccessful searches of the unit.
Relatives said LaFontaine-Greywind left the family's apartment Saturday to help an upstairs neighbor who needed a model while sewing a dress, but she never returned home. Police said the apartment she visited was that of Crews and Hoehn.
Deputy Chief Joe Anderson said authorities were asking residents of a Grand Forks neighborhood this week what they may know about four men who are "known in the case." He said police were trying to corroborate the men's statements and alibis "to help us narrow our investigation."
Meanwhile, a north Fargo woman went public this week to refute a Facebook post that accused her of luring LaFontaine-Greywind to an upstairs apartment in the missing woman's building.
The woman, Dawn Kirby, told The Forum she has a criminal past, but is not a monster. She said she's never met LaFontaine-Greywind.
Kirby is a registered sex offender for having sex with an underage male. She said she voluntarily talked to Fargo police on Wednesday. Police have said they don't believe Kirby is involved.
'Getting so close'
LaFontaine-Greywind's Twitter profile says her due date is Sept. 20. On Aug. 13, she tagged her boyfriend of six years and soon-to-be father, Ashton Matheny, in a Facebook post that read: "A little bit more things & we will almost have everything for our little baby. Getting so close."
Matheny said Thursday that he and LaFontaine-Greywind were expecting a baby girl. They had picked the name Haisley Jo.
He said he has not been able to see the baby that was taken from the building. "They said it's healthy, but they're running more tests," he said.
Matheny said LaFontaine-Greywind's parents are staying in a hotel because the apartment building was evacuated. "They took her toothbrush for DNA, but they haven't taken mine," he said.
Matheny told WDAY-TV this week that he was texting LaFontaine-Greywind on Saturday and last heard from her around 1:30 p.m.
The couple was about to move into an apartment together. "All I'm thinking about is where she's at. She's at priority No. 1. She's always been No. 1," Matheny said Thursday.
Todd said the Police Department has "put all of its resources toward solving this case from the beginning," including 35 detectives, four sergeants and two lieutenants. The investigation has included aircraft and watercraft searches, as well as using K-9s. The department has also received help from outside agencies.
As investigators moved in and out of the building Thursday, residents of the building watched from across the street, including members of LaFontaine-Greywind's family.
At times, police escorted family members to a mobile forensic laboratory to update them on what was being learned.
At one point, authorities brought in dogs to search the apartment building, and Silk said afterward they apparently found something, though family members were being told by police not to share what they were told.
A resident of the building, Christipher Miranda, said he heard noises in the bathroom above his apartment Saturday afternoon.
He said he heard banging sounds in the bathtub in the third-floor apartment above him about 1:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. and that the sounds lasted for 15 to 20 minutes. He said he could then hear the shower running.
The Fargo Fire Department spent part of Thursday morning searching a stretch of the Red River from the North Dam near the 12th Avenue North toll bridge to County Road 21 in north Fargo.
At a prayer event held Wednesday at the downtown Sanford Medical Center, Amanda Vivier, spiritual director of the Native American Christian Ministry, called on the public to place pressure on Fargo police to devote more resources to the search.
On Thursday, Vivier stood outside the downtown Fargo police station holding a sign that said the FBI needs to be involved in the search.
She said police had told her the FBI was being kept informed about the case, but as of Thursday morning there was nothing to indicate the FBI had jurisdiction to join the investigation officially.
Anyone with information about LaFontaine-Greywind's whereabouts is asked to call Fargo police at (701) 235-4493 or text a tip to (701) 730-8888 or call the anonymous tip line at (701) 241-5777.
If you go
What: Prayer gathering for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind hosted by the American Indian Student Association (AISA) of Minnesota State University Moorhead
When: 12 to 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25
Where: MSUM mall at the center of campus
For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.