Remembering Savanna Greywind, one year after gruesome murder shocks the nation

Published: Aug. 19, 2018 at 3:35 PM CDT
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It was a crime that shocked the community and the nation one year ago today.

A pregnant mother goes missing and is later found dead with her baby cut from her body. The murder of Savanna Greywind affected many people in the community who helped in her search and hoped for her safe return.

August 19th, 2017: An 8-month pregnant Savanna Greywind went upstairs to try on a dress in the apartment of Brooke Crews and her boyfriend, William Hoehn.

When Greywind never returned downstairs to her apartment, her family began to worry.

Her car was still in the driveway, her wallet left behind and she was no longer answering her cell phone. Greywind's mother, Norberta, knocked on Crews' apartment, but she said Savanna left around 2:30 that afternoon.

Norberta called police to report her daughter missing. Officers questioned Brooke Crews and William Hoehn, and searched their apartment, but came up empty handed. Police searched Crews' apartment two more times that weekend, but found nothing.

"More needs to be done. I begged them from the beginning, from the minute I called them. I pleaded with them, there's something wrong. You've got to do this now,” Norberta Greywind said.

"We were running constant surveillance, and investigating several different theories regarding Savanna being held against her will, and or her unborn child being induced or removed and possibly alive,” Fargo Police Chief, David Todd said.

Fast forward to Wednesday August 23rd; A breakthrough in the case.

Co-workers of William Hoehn told police he had been talking about having a baby at home. And that information allowed investigators to get search warrants.

On Thursday afternoon, police executed those search warrants and found a new born baby girl, alive.

"Detective interviews with Hoehns and Crews, indicate the baby girl is savanna's baby," Chief Todd said.

The baby was taken to Sanford Hospital and placed under protective custody of Cass County Social Services. Police arrested Crews and Hoehn, but Savanna remained missing.

"We’re trying to get some guidance of where to go, where to start searching. Any information would help. We have nothing,” Norberta Greywind said.

For three more days, police and hundreds of people in the community scoured the valley for Savanna Greywind, hoping for the best.

"Please check your property, buildings, garages, outbuildings for any signs of entry or any sign of someone having been there. Landlords, please check your vacant apartments that you may have, for any sign of entry or evidence that anybody has been there. If you are willing to check dumpsters, we ask for the public's help in doing that,” Chief Todd said.

8 days after Savanna Greywind was first reported missing, kayakers came across her body wrapped in plastic and hung up on a log on the Red River near Harwood.

Officials charged Crews and Hoehn with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and providing false information to police.

Crews initially told investigators she instructed Savanna how to induce early childbirth on the day she disappeared. She said Savanna then left her apartment and returned two days later in the middle of the night, giving Crews her newborn baby.

Hoehn says he didn't know about Crews' plan. He says Crews showed him the baby when he got home from work and told him, 'This is our baby. This is our family."

However, we wouldn't know the graphic details of Savanna Greywind's murder for 6 more months when the prosecution read court documents at Brooke Crews' sentencing.

"I did cut her. And then I took her baby out of her, she was not dead when I cut her and took her baby out of her. Miss Greywind then performed a crude C-section without the benefit of anesthetic,” Prosecutor Tanya Johnson Martinez said.

We also learned during the search for Savanna, Crews went out in public with the baby, Haisley Jo.

"Crews admitted she brought the baby to Walmart late at night in public,” Johnson Martinez said.

"I get so upset and angry and can't understand how or why these people could have taken my girl from me, from us. The pain of losing a child is like no other pain, I now know that pain. My heart is literally broken,” Norberta Greywind said at the court hearing.

"I am guilty and I deserve every year I get. I just wanted them to know that I am sorry for what I did,” sobbed Brooke Crews.

The fate of Crews' actions landed her a life sentence in prison without parole.

"Today is the first day I learned how my daughter was murdered and how my granddaughter was taken from her. I am satisfied with the sentence,” Norberta Greywind said.

Now one year later, the memorials are gone and the windows are no longer boarded up on apartment 5.

We talked with neighbors in the apartment building, as well as in the area, who say it's been an unsettling 12 months. One woman even saying she was too scared to leave her home for weeks. But everyone tells us, they've moved on and they no longer want to think about what happened in the apartment where Savanna Greywind was murdered.

Even with the devastating anniversary of the loss of Savanna, there is still a celebration to be had.

Savanna's boyfriend of almost 7 years, Ashton Matheny, now has custody of baby Haisley Jo, who will be celebrating her first birthday this week.

"Every day I’m reminded of her more and more, because every day she grows and she's starting to look more like her mother. I miss Savanna so much, I've never put love into someone like I did her,” Matheny said .

Brooke Crews' boyfriend, William Hoehn has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is set to be on trial early next month.