‘She’s in danger. Something’s wrong’
THE disturbing case of a heavily pregnant young woman who disappeared in bizarre circumstances has taken a twist with the discovery of a newborn baby.
Savanna Lafontaine-Greywind, 22, was last seen leaving her apartment in Fargo, North Dakota, on August 19 to help an upstairs neighbour who needed a model for a dress she was sewing.
Police searched the neighbour's home three times this week but failed to find any trace of Savanna. The department also trawled a nearby river and conducted aerial searches without success.
All that changed dramatically overnight when Fargo Police Chief David Todd announced officers had found a newborn baby in "good condition" during a fourth search of the "suspect's residence" on Thursday.
Speaking in a video posted to the Fargo Police Department's Facebook page, Chief Todd said the infant would be DNA tested to confirm whether the mother was Savanna, who remains missing.
He said officers had taken two occupants of the flat into custody for questioning. On Friday police named the couple as William Hoehn and Brooke Crews.
Relatives said on Facebook that the baby was a two-day old girl but police have not confirmed this. The child was examined at a local hospital before being placed in protective custody while investigators and Savanna's family await the DNA results.
Norberta Lafontaine-Greywind, Savanna's mother, told reporters earlier this week that her daughter ordered a pizza before going to Crews' home around lunchtime last Saturday but never returned to eat it.
Crews had offered $20 and Savanna had agreed, she said.
"I immediately knew something was wrong because her car is here," Mrs Lafontaine-Greywind told the Duluth News Tribune.
"She's eight months pregnant. Her feet were swollen, so she wouldn't have taken up walking like that. There was pizza here that she hadn't eaten. She would not just leave that lady's apartment and go somewhere.
"She's in danger. Something's wrong."
Rattled, Mrs Lafontaine-Greywind went upstairs and knocked on the door, only to be told by Crews that they'd finished working on the dress and Savanna had already left.
Mrs Lafontaine-Greywind told WDAY-TV that her daughter was "very excited" about the child she was expecting with boyfriend Ashton Matheny and was due to give birth in late September.
Prior to the discovery of the unidentified newborn, police had been working with local, state and federal law enforcement and interviewed Mr Matheny, family members, neighbours and Savanna's boss.
Mr Matheny and Savanna's family have also canvassed the area and put up hundreds of "missing" flyers around town but their efforts have so far produced no clues to her whereabouts.
Local media reported that Savanna shared an apartment with her parents and 16-year-old brother in the basement of their seven-unit, three-storey building and worked as a nursing assistant at an old people's home.
Mrs Lafontaine-Greywind said Crews, who lived on the third floor, knocked on their door at around lunchtime last Saturday and asked Savanna if she would act as a model so she could pin a dress she was sewing. She offered to pay her $20 and Savanna agreed.
The expectant mum had promised to give her brother a ride at 3pm that day but when the teenager went upstairs to fetch his sister at around 2.30pm, nobody answered when he knocked on the door.
Savanna was supposed to give her brother a ride to work shortly before 3pm on Saturday. Her mother sent the brother upstairs about 2:30pm to get Savanna, but nobody responded when he knocked.
Savanna's father, Joe Greywind, then went upstairs himself and knocked on the door. Crews answered but said Savanna couldn't come to the door because they were still working on the dress.
Since Savanna wasn't available, Mrs Lafontaine-Greywind gave her son a lift. When she got home and saw her daughter had still not returned she panicked, ran upstairs to see Crews, only to be told she had already left.
"I repeatedly called her, texted her," she told the Tribune. "I got no reply, no response, no answer."
It was "very" out of character for her not to respond to texts or phone calls.
"My daughter is always on Facebook, always texting," she said, noting that Savanna had posted or shared posts on Facebook four times on the morning of her disappearance.
She and her boyfriend had just signed a lease on a flat in North Fargo and planned to move there on September 1.