The late Savanna Greywind is seen in a photo on Facebook.

Defendant sentenced for kidnapping and murder of Spirit Lake Nation woman

One of two defendants charged in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Savanna Marie Greywind, a young citizen of the Spirit Lake Nation, was sentenced for her role in the crime.

Greywind, 22, went missing from her home in Fargo, North Dakota, last August. She was eight months pregnant at the time.

A little over a week later, her body was found in a nearby river. Her baby had been taken from her and was found in her apartment complex where the two defendants also lived.

One of them, Brooke Lynn Crews, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on a conspiracy to commit murder charge, The Fargo Forum reported. She also received 20 years on a charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and 163 days for providing false information to law enforcement, the paper said.

According to prosecutors, Crews admitted she took Greywind's baby while the victim was still alive, the paper reported. The crude procedure contributed to her death.

The infant is in the care of her father.

The second defendant is William Henry Hoehn, who has been described as Crews's boyfriend. He is due to go to trial on May 15, The Forum reported.

Greywind's disappearance and death has been symbolic of the "epidemic" of missing and murdered Native women, advocates say. Her murder prompted Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) to introduce S.1942, known as Savanna's Act, to force the federal government to collect data on the number of similar cases.

"The crisis of missing & murdered indigenous women urgently needs more attention, which is why I intro’d #SavannasAct help law enforcement crack down on these horrible crimes," Heitkamp wrote in a post on Twitter on Friday, after the sentence was handed down. "We must make sure women like Savanna are #NotInvisible."

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on the bill on October 25, 2017. It has not yet been scheduled for a business meeting, the next step in the legislative process.

In the House, Rep. Norma Torres (D-California), the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, has introduced H.R.4485, a companion version. It has not received a hearing.

“The increasing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women is one that needs to be addressed with urgency and immediate action; their lives are no less valuable than any one of us and deserve to be protected," Torres said last November.

Read More on the Story:
'I wish I could take their pain': Crews apologizes to victim's family, gets life sentence (The Fargo Forum February 2, 2018)
Abductor said pregnant mother wasn't dead when she stole baby from womb, prosecutors say (The Fargo Forum February 2, 2018)
Fargo woman gets life for killing pregnant Greywind, stealing baby (Minnesota Public Radio February 2, 2018)

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