When a young woman from North Dakota learned she and her boyfriend were expecting, it seemed like everything in her life was finally falling into place.
That was, at least, until she suddenly vanished just a few weeks before she was planning on giving birth to the daughter she told everyone she wanted so badly. Her story sounds like a mystery straight out of Hollywood, but it’s far more frightening than any movie because it really happened…
Savanna Marie LaFontaine-Greywind was born of Indigenous Native American descent from Tokio, North Dakota. Like many young women, Savanna was always posting photos on social media, specifically while riding horses. She was a passionate equestrian and always a very social person, according to her mom. Savanna was constantly on Facebook and texting her friends and family.
After school, she studied to be a Certified Nurse Assistant and worked at several facilities in the area. It was safe to say she was excited to start her new career and had direction, even at such a young age. Next, she enrolled at North Dakota State University while she was living with her family in a North Fargo apartment…
More Good News
Savanna had a promising career and a bright future ahead, when she learned more good news: she and her longtime boyfriend Ashton Matheny had a baby on the way. At just 22 years old, it seemed Savanna was on a true path to happiness. She seemed to have everything she had ever wanted.
Savanna was about seven-and-a-half months pregnant on Aug. 19, 2017, when everything changed. She was at the basement apartment she shared with her brother, sister, and parents in a three-story apartment building at 2825 9th St. N. in Fargo, when she heard a knock on the door…
It was a woman living in a third-floor unit, Apartment 5, who had a strange request of Savanna. She asked if she would model a dress she was sewing so that she could pin it and offered her $20 for her help. Thinking it was a very easy way to make some cash, Savanna agreed.
Before she went upstairs Savanna, who was always one to be careful, texted her mother to explain what she was doing and Ashton, who was house-sitting for his mother in Grand Forks. He had no idea it was the last time he would hear from his girlfriend…
Savanna went upstairs about 1:30 p.m, right after she ordered a pizza. She didn’t expect to be gone for long, but she never did get to eat that pizza. She was supposed to give her 16-year-old brother a ride to work just before 3 p.m., but when Savanna’s mother, Norberta LaFontaine-Greywind, sent him upstairs to get her, nobody answered the door at Apartment
Minutes later, Joe Greywind tried again, and Crews told him his daughter wasn’t finished working on the dress. Norberta took her son to work instead and panicked when she realized her pregnant daughter was still not home when she returned. It wasn’t like her at all to disappear for hours without anyone in her family knowing where she went…
Savanna’s mom frantically ran upstairs and knocked on the door of Apartment 5, but Crews told her Savanna had left soon after her father had asked about her earlier in the day. It was out of character for her to leave home without telling anyone and she was unlikely to go anywhere on foot because she was uncomfortable from being very pregnant and a naturally cautious person.
“I immediately knew something was wrong because [my daughter’s] car is here,” Norberta told the Forum News Service. “Her feet were swollen, so she wouldn’t have taken up walking like that…She would not just leave that lady’s apartment and go somewhere.” Norberta also had a funny feeling about Crews and didn’t trust her at all.
Despite the fact Savanna was almost eight months pregnant, Crews had knocked on the family’s door and asked Savanna to come upstairs to smoke pot with her just two weeks earlier. Later that night, the Greywind family contacted Fargo police to report that they believed Savanna was missing…
Police officers arrived at the apartment, talked to Savanna’s distressed family, and then went upstairs to question Crews and her boyfriend William Henry Hoehn. There, they saw evidence of the sewing project that Savanna told her family she was going upstairs to help with. However, it puzzled police why Crews, who wasn’t visibly overweight, would ask a woman who was nearly eight months pregnant to model a dress for her.
Police continued to keep Crews and Hoehn as main suspects in the days that followed. Then on August 24, 2017, five days after the 22-year-old mom-to-be disappeared, police executed a search warrant on Apartment 5 and found Crews at home. And much to their surprise, she was joined by a newborn baby.
The baby girl was miraculously healthy and taken to the hospital, where she was confirmed to be Savanna’s daughter. However, Savanna was nowhere to be found and police seemed to have no clues about where she might be. They pleaded for the public’s help in finding Savanna and search parties scoured the neighborhood, after family and friends of Savanna grew impatient the lack of progress…
Over the next few days, hundreds of people fanned out across Fargo looking for clues. Savanna’s grandfather told police he had a dream she would be found near water. Finally, on the evening of August 27th, search crews discovered Savanna’s body near Red River in Minnesota.
The 22-year-old’s body was found heavily wrapped in plastic and bound in duct tape. Her death was soon deemed a Homicide and Crews and Hoehn were the police’s only suspects. They were formally charged on Monday, Aug. 28 with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and providing false information to police and Crews would admit to taking advantage of the young mother…
However, Crews and Hoehn soon told police different stories about what happened to Savanna. Crews said she instructed the mom-to-be on how to induce early childbirth early on the day she disappeared and that Savanna then left her apartment. She said the new mom returned two days later at 3:30 a.m., and gave Crews her newborn baby…
On the other hand, Hoehn said he came home from work on the day Savanna disappeared and discovered Crews cleaning up blood in their bathroom. He said she presented him with the newborn and said, “This is our baby, this is our family.” Hoehn then told police he removed garbage bags containing bloody towels and shoes and disposed of them in a nearby apartment dumpster.
Crews and Hoehn are each being held on $2 million bail at the Cass County Jail, and await trial in 2018. Police believe Crews and Hoehn conspired to murder Savanna so that they could obtain her child and so they could try and pass the girl off as their own. Investigations revealed that Crews had at least seven children of her own by at least five different men, but had limited contact with all of them and a long history of abuse. DNA tests have since proven that Savanna and Ashton are the parents, and Ashton has since obtained legal custody of his daughter, Haisley Jo.
Fargo police say they are still investigating the crimes and still have many questions. What really happened at Apartment 5 on Saturday, August 19th? When was the baby born? And how is it she was born four weeks early in such challenging circumstances, was healthy when found, and has experienced no significant health problems? Was she taken from her mother violently? Could Fargo police have prevented her death had they acted faster to find Savanna? Although justice for Savanna’s merciless death has been served, some questions may never be answered.