Court transcriptions give more details in Justice Lange case

Published: Jul. 18, 2018 at 1:57 PM CDT
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Court transcripts from a probable cause hearing in Southeast District Court give more insight into the Justice Lange case.

In documents obtained by NewsDakota, the hearing was held on July 11th at the Stutsman County Courthouse with District Judge Jay Schmitz presiding. Detective Jason Falk provided findings in the investigation which started on June 28th.

Falk informed the court that the department “took report of a missing person, child endangerment-type of situation.” He says the father of the child called and reported that his girlfriend, Justice Lange, had taken off in a vehicle that she didn’t own. In that report, he informed the department that she was a “meth addict and that she took off with the kid and felt she was off using drugs or in hiding.”

On July 6th, Detective Falk reports that an individual driving down a gravel road south of Woodworth found a woman walking along the road barefoot and “only wearing a tank top and bra.” The man said he knew it was Justice Lange through family members. Lange informed the man that she had been living by a slough for the last few days and didn’t mention anything about the baby. Her grandparents called the police when she was dropped off with famiily.

“She was covered in ticks, sunburnt, and was – didn’t have the baby with,” Falk stated. “And when they asked her where the baby was, she told them in the water.”

Justice Lange. Photo: SCCC

Falk and Special Agent Rummel conducted an interview with Lange while she was in the hospital in Fargo.

“She told us that she remembers being in the Woodworth area and having vehicle trouble and that she was at a bar and got some help from a lady at the bar,” Falk reported. “but doesn’t remember anything else after that up until waking up out in a field missing her pants, underwear, shoes and everything. And her baby being out in the field.”

Falk reports her vehicle was found two miles from where she was picked up. A search found the pickup to be stuck, having driven through a farmyard. Falk says when they found the vehicle, there was gas, baby formula, water, food, baby items and other things. Falk says from there, it appears Lange and the baby went west.

“A car seat was found. We kind of were able to track her along where we were finding – items were located, a car seat, a baby bib, bottle, a changed diaper, things like that going west of the vehicle,” Falk stated.

Falk says this led investigators and searchers to a field where it appeared someone had spent a lot of time. He says in Lange’s initial statement, she said after being there for three or four days, the baby was not waking up.

“She went into the water and was splashing water on the baby to revive him,” Falk said. “[She] was splashing water on the baby to revive him and [she said] the slough she was by was really muddy and when she walked back up, she didn’t have the baby anymore.”

Lange then confirmed to the investigators that the baby was dead. Searches of the area found pants, underwear, shoes and more. Falk says in a second, phone interview, Lange stated the baby died in her arms.

“She said she had gone down to the water, splashed water on the baby to try to revive him, but she couldn’t revive and he died in her arms. She then went up to the shore and she placed the baby in the reeds next to a body of water.”

Falk says with that information, they were able to narrow the search to the slough.

“She basically guided us right to where the body of the baby was then found,” Falk said.

Falk told the court that Justice stated she hadn’t used meth for a couple of days. Later interviews found that Justice admitted to purchasing meth when working with the carnival.

4 month-old Tyr Lange was found dead July 7th in rural Stutsman County.

“Her boyfriend, Jason Wilde, bought the meth for both of them and she had shot up. She’s an intravenous user and she shot up right before she left with the baby,” Falk stated.

Preliminary autopsy results found that 4 month-old baby Tyr had died of malnutrition. While medical records have not been obtained that find meth in Lange’s system, she did admit to using meth the day of.

Falk informed the court that they believed Lange had lived in the field from June 28th to July 6th and was reportedly missing the entire time.

Lange was charged with manslaughter and child neglect. A hearing for those charges has not yet been set.