FARGO - Ashton Matheny, boyfriend of the slain Fargo woman, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, now has full legal custody of their baby girl, Haisley Jo.
A Cass County District Court judge on Tuesday, Sept. 12, dismissed the order that had placed the baby in protective custody of Cass County Social Services after she was found in the possession of one of the suspects charged in the case.
“It’s amazing – it’s all over with finally,” Matheny said Tuesday. “I’ve been here almost a month fighting for my daughter. It’s been the toughest month of my life.”
The child had remained in protective custody awaiting results of DNA tests that were conducted to determine whether Matheny and LaFontaine-Greywind were the parents. Matheny reported on Monday, Sept. 11, that he had received word that the tests had confirmed that fact.
“It was a great day,” Matheny said after the court appearance. “I actually started crying in the courtroom - tears of joy. I was waiting for this day.”
LaFontaine-Greywind, 22, disappeared on Saturday, Aug. 19, while eight months pregnant. She had gone upstairs in her north Fargo apartment building to help a neighbor who asked her to model a dress that the neighbor was sewing. She never returned.
On Thursday, Aug. 24, police raided the apartment where she was last seen. They found a newborn baby and arrested one of the tenants, Brooke Lynn Crews. Her live-in boyfriend, William Henry Hoehn, was arrested soon after. The suspects told police that the baby belonged to LaFontaine-Greywind.
Remarkably, the baby was healthy and has experienced no significant health problems. It is unknown when the baby was born or how she was born - whether she was born naturally, induced early, or taken from the mother violently.
Matheny said Tuesday that Haisley Jo weighed 4 pounds, 13 ounces when brought to the hospital. He has designated her birthday as Aug. 21, two days after LaFontaine-Greywind disappeared, “because I like that number,” he said.
Matheny was not permitted to see Haisley Jo until Monday, Sept. 4, 11 days after she was found. He visited her twice in a local hospital, and she was placed in his care Wednesday, Sept. 6. She has also spent significant time over the last week with her grandparents, Joe and Norberta Greywind, parents of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind.
Matheny, 21, declined to state his plans now that he has obtained custody. He had been living in Minneapolis where he was working in construction, but moved back to North Dakota in June to be nearer to LaFontaine-Greywind as the due date for their child approached.
A member of the Spirit Lake tribe like LaFontaine-Greywind, Matheny had been staying with his dad on the reservation near Devils Lake, N.D., until his girlfriend’s disappearance.
The couple was scheduled to move into an apartment together in north Fargo on Sept. 1. The baby had been due Sept. 20.
LaFontaine-Greywind’s body was found in the Red River on Sunday, Aug. 27. A medical examiner found that she had died as a result of “homicidal violence,” though no other details about the autopsy have been released. She was buried in Fargo on Thursday, Sept. 7.
Crews, 38, and Hoehn, 32, have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and providing false information to police. The maximum penalty in the murder charge is life in prison without parole. Both are being held at the Cass County Jail on $2 million bail.