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SPIRIT LAKE RESERVATION: Officers secure scene where two children found dead

Windows and doors are boarded up at a home in St. Michael, N.D., in which two children were found slain on Saturday, neighbors said. Herald photo by Eric Hylden.

SPIRIT LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION, N.D. -- An officer from the Bureau of Indian Affairs was stationed Tuesday outside the house where neighbors say two young children were found dead Saturday in St. Michael, on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation.

While keeping the scene secure, the BIA officer -- like other law enforcement officers working the case including the FBI and tribal police -- said he could not comment on the investigation.

The house was boarded up with plywood after investigators arrived on the scene late Saturday.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon said Monday that the FBI and BIA are investigating an incident on the reservation, but said he could not yet provide any details.

Neighbors and relatives say two children, a brother and a sister, the girl, 9, and the boy, 7, were found by their mother, Mena Shaw, on Saturday in their home under a mattress, slain with a knife or other sharp bladed weapon.

The children's father, Travis DuBois, 41, had reported them missing last Thursday and friends and family searched for them for several days, a relative said.

Once the children's bodies were found Saturday, DuBois was arrested nearby and remains in the Lake Region jail in Devils Lake. No information from the jail was available on why he was being held.

A priest from the nearby parish said he was meeting with family members Tuesday and could not talk to reporters.

Mena Shaw, 40, was living nearby with the couple's youngest child, who is 2, a relative said.

Another child, 4, was found unharmed in the house Saturday.

A relative who asked not to be identified said DuBois and Shaw had separated recently. DuBois worked at the nearby fire hall, said those who knew him.

Herbie Cavanaugh, who lives across the street, told a television reporter from KVLY on Monday that he had entered the house of DuBois and Shaw on Saturday and saw the mother holding one of her slain children and weeping, while the other child lay on the floor.

On Tuesday, Cavanaugh declined comment. "Nobody else is talking about it, so I don't think I want to talk about it anymore, either."

A local funeral home said funeral plans for the children are pending.

Roger Yankton, newly elected chairman of the Spirit Lake tribal council, met Tuesday with tribal police officials to be updated on the investigation. Yankton declined to comment on the deaths, in part, he said, because he doesn't take office for several days.