3-year-old’s death on highway investigated as homicide

2012-12-20T18:00:00Z 2014-08-25T08:07:10Z 3-year-old’s death on highway investigated as homicideBy CLAIR JOHNSON cjohnson@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The FBI is investigating the recent death of a 3-year-old girl, who is thought to have been tossed from a moving vehicle by her mother on U.S. Highway 313 south of Hardin, as a homicide.

The agency sought a warrant Wednesday to search a pickup truck registered to Mary Agnes Leider, 24, of Billings and St. Xavier. She is the mother of Tenielle Ameryl Big Day, 3.

The child died Dec. 3 from blunt-force trauma from a “vehicular incident,” Big Horn County Coroner Terry Bullis said earlier.

FBI spokeswoman Deborah Bertram in Salt Lake City declined to comment Thursday on the search warrant application, but earlier she said agents were in the midst of an ongoing investigation. The FBI has provided few details about the case.

However, the FBI’s search warrant application filed in U.S. District Court in Billings gives an account of what it suspects happened based on interviews with witnesses. Court records did not indicate when a search would be undertaken.

The truck is a purple 1999 Dodge pickup registered to Mary Agnes Leider. The search seeks hair, fibers, bodily fluids containing DNA and any item related to the pickup’s operation, the application said. The pickup is at Big Horn County’s impound yard in Hardin.

Tenielle Big Day was “allegedly thrown from a moving vehicle,” Larry J. McGrail II, an FBI special agent, said in the court document.

In an interview with investigators on Dec. 3, Wally Leider said his sister, Mary Leider, had thrown her daughter out of the pickup while he was driving, the agent said.

Mary Leider was sitting in the front seat with Tenielle on her lap, Wally Leider told investigators. The girl was “quiet but awake” when Mary Leider “opened the front passenger door with her right hand, and threw (Big Day) out of the pickup,” Wally Leider told investigators.

Wally Leider immediately stopped and Mary Leider got out of the pickup, the agent said. Wally Leider walked behind the pickup, where he found Tenielle and knew she was dead. He then picked up the child, put her in the back seat and drove toward his mother’s house.

Mary Leider told officers that she had been driving around with her daughter and drinking with her brothers when her brothers began arguing on the way home. She said she told Wally Leider to slow down. At some point he stopped the pickup and she hit her head on the dashboard.

Mary Leider also told officers that before hitting her head, her daughter was on her lap but that she couldn’t remember what had happened to the child when the pickup stopped or how her daughter got injured.

Three days later, Mary Leider was booked into the Yellowstone County jail on a warrant from Billings Municipal Court for revocation of a suspended sentence for traffic violations. She was released on Dec. 9.

Law enforcement officers learned something had happened Dec. 3 when the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office started getting calls at 4:06 a.m. from people who were distraught and crying. The calls were tracked to an area near mile marker 11 on Highway 313 on the Crow Reservation. Officers and an ambulance responded.

A deputy sheriff found Mary Leider and her brother, Arland Leider, sitting by the side of the road, “crying uncontrollably,” the agent said. “Mary told the deputy that her baby was ‘gone’ and had been hit by a vehicle,” he said.

As more officers arrived, the deputy was sent farther along the highway to respond to a 911 call about a deceased 3-year-old. There, the deputy was met by Wally Leider and Georgiana Denny, the mother of Mary, Wally and Arland Leider. Denny took the deputy to her car, where Tenielle Big Day’s body had been placed. The pickup truck also was there.

Denny told investigators that her three children had been out partying while Tenielle Big Day was with them. Mary Leider had repeatedly refused Denny’s calls and text messages to return home with the child, she told officers.

Denny then started driving toward Hardin on Highway 313, looking for them. She stopped when she saw Mary Leider’s pickup approaching and Wally Leider was driving. Wally Leider told his mother that “something was wrong” with Tenielle and that his sister had thrown the child from the pickup. Denny called for an ambulance and placed the child in her car.



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(45) Comments

  1. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 23, 2012 9:41 am
  2. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 23, 2012 5:52 am
    You obviously don't understand how much I appreciate Christians like Marcus Borg. May I suggest you read the quote of his I shared?

    I will never find acceptable any parent who doesn't do everything in their power to protect their child from harm.
  3. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 23, 2012 5:47 am
    You lack understanding.

    I will never understand how any parent would not do everything in their power to keep their child safe and out of harms way.
  4. bout time
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    bout time - December 22, 2012 6:05 pm
    Well said, linderlu!!!
  5. linderlu
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    linderlu - December 22, 2012 3:15 pm
    There are no words to express how sad it is that two of this woman's children:
    Galena Leider and Tenielle Big Day both died at age 3...children who should have had futures. The obituary for Galena doesn't say how she died. I would hope the FBI would look into the other child's death. Kids should be protected, not riding around unsecured on Mom's lap while she drinks. It sounds like this little girl's Grandma was looking out for her, I wish it would have worked. My sympathy and thoughts are for those not involved in this child's death, who are suffering her loss.

  6. cowboypoet
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    cowboypoet - December 22, 2012 11:21 am
    This is so true.

    You have demonized Christianity and religion and are trying to kill the beliefs of anyone who believes in Christ or religion in every thread.

  7. cowboypoet
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    cowboypoet - December 22, 2012 11:17 am
    What I understand is that you have been hurt and you want to hurt back.
  8. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 22, 2012 7:35 am
    You know, you would have more credibility if you had a problem with all inappropriate "religious debate". Of course, I understand why you don't want to talk about it.
  9. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 22, 2012 7:35 am
    This does bring some new meaning to the old slogan "time to go for the gusto", doesn't it. I'm with you, and hope she is not allowed another opportunity to reproduce. I wish this would start a debate about how our culture contributes to this sort of behavior when we chuckle at drunks, and go along with the "it's been a tough day, I need a drink" talk.
  10. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 22, 2012 6:36 am
    You know if you demonize someone long enough it makes it much easier to kill them.
  11. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 22, 2012 6:34 am
    Yes, I do. Why don't you understand that?
  12. jneed11
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    jneed11 - December 22, 2012 2:56 am
    It's almost like staring at the devil himself. Prayers for that baby.
  13. cowboypoet
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    cowboypoet - December 21, 2012 10:36 pm
    There are no words to express the grief and saddness for what happened to this beautiful little child.

    Tears are the language that our Lord and Saviour understands.
  14. shooshdele
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    shooshdele - December 21, 2012 8:55 pm
    My thoughts, well wishes and prayers go out to the Leider and BigDay families and all of their extended families as well. Aho and peace be with you.
  15. cowboypoet
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    cowboypoet - December 21, 2012 7:52 pm

    This is not about YOU.!. Why do you think you are the main attraction?
  16. ruby
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    ruby - December 21, 2012 6:37 pm
    Come on Rainbowed, there has to be a time when you learn time and place. Not every tragedy or horrible thing that happens is an open invitation for a religious debate. I am sure all of billings knows your religious stand.

    Plain and simple this piece of trash killed her beautiful child and it is being investigated. It is my hope that she is locked away for the rest of her life.
  17. Whatevvver
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    Whatevvver - December 21, 2012 6:19 pm
    how sad and how sick. she needs to be sent away for life. this is without a doubt an evil thought out death - she needs to pay.
  18. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 21, 2012 4:38 pm
    I don't understand why I would be wanting to fool anyone. I don't fear the truth, which can be threatening to some. Perhaps this could explain to you where I am coming from:

    "Christians in this country (and elsewhere) are deeply divided by different understandings of a shared language. About half (maybe more) of American Christians believe that biblical language is to be understood literally within a heaven-and-hell framework that emphasizes the afterlife, sin and forgiveness, Jesus dying for our sins, and believing. The other half (maybe less) puzzle over and have problems with this. Some have moved on to another understanding of Christian language. The differences are so sharp that they virtually produce two different religions, both using the same Bible and the same language."

    Borg, Marcus J. (2011-04-12). Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power—And How They Can Be Restored (pp. 1-2). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  19. power2
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    power2 - December 21, 2012 4:27 pm
    why do people kill children? this women should never be abl to have children or see freedom again , this is her 2nd child that has died . both girls, both 3 yrs old ........something wrong ...
  20. KingRichard
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    KingRichard - December 21, 2012 4:13 pm
    your consistent and constant attack on the christian concept on every article from cars to gardening has already told the saga of your extreme bitterness.....no one is going to believe that you are sincere here and why should they??? The only questions you ask are how can you make the darkness darker....you are fooling no one!
  21. flydaho
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    flydaho - December 21, 2012 4:07 pm
    Words cannot express my feelings toward this monster and several of her family members.
  22. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 21, 2012 3:03 pm
    I have read "The Shack", and understand the concept of freedom of choice. I believe in the story of Jesus that Pontius Pilot, the Jews, and the Roman Government made the choice, not God. Have I missed something?
  23. Marci Borzenski
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    Marci Borzenski - December 21, 2012 1:57 pm
    Rainbowed - I would encourage you to read the book "The Shack". We have the freedom to make our own choices. I may not agree with yours and you may not agree with mine - but they are our own. This child's mother made her own choice - even though we may think it is horrific - it was her choice - not God's.
  24. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 21, 2012 1:32 pm
    Personal attack I see. Is this how most Christians behave? Maybe I'm making assumptions that are incorrect with that question. My apologies if I have done so.

    I'm not understanding what "advantage" I'm getting from this, maybe you would be nice enough to explain. What am I blaming the world for here? These are honestly questions I started asking myself some time ago. God didn't give me an answer, so I'm asking others. I could be missing something, and am open to any reasonable explanations.
  25. moon
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    moon - December 21, 2012 1:04 pm
    This is her second 3 year old daughter to die.......http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/announcements/obituaries/galena-leider/article_68a4cd18-e2c7-11de-930b-001cc4c03286.html
  26. KingRichard
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    KingRichard - December 21, 2012 11:45 am
    I am certain Rainbowed that taking advantage of this tragedy to voice your own personal bitterness in life at one of the world's 5 major religions is as close to being just as despicable as this crime was.
    It's probably true that whatever caused your bitterness was some matter of little significance. It's usually a case of self pity that causes people like you to be so bitter. The only cure is for you is to accept responsibility for your actions and stop blaming the world for what you yourself most probably caused to happen.
  27. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 21, 2012 10:47 am
    I understand if you don't want to talk about it. Wishing you and yours a Merry Winder Solstice!
  28. ruby
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    ruby - December 21, 2012 10:25 am
    Where are all her "friends" defending her now? A few weeks ago they were claiming what a wonderful mother she was.
  29. RightDog
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    RightDog - December 21, 2012 10:11 am
    Don't sell yourself short. There is never any humor in your posts.
  30. neocon4hire
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    neocon4hire - December 21, 2012 10:04 am
    rainbowed, you're something else....you've reached a new low
  31. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 21, 2012 9:48 am
    I often inject parody and comedy into my comments, so I want to make clear from the start this one is dead serious. NO humor here.

    We are often told the majority of Americans believe we have a heavenly Father looking over us, who was on board with humans torturing and killing His only Son. Maybe there is a higher purpose behind this story we are not understanding?

    I have to admit I am only feeling anger over this story. We are also told this Father comforts us, especially in times of trouble. Perhaps someone could testify to some comfort they are getting from the Father thru this? I would not want to be angry over something good God is doing for us.
  32. rainbowed
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    rainbowed - December 21, 2012 7:57 am
    Drugs, what fun, eh kids...
  33. Painter817
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    Painter817 - December 21, 2012 2:55 am
    let the whole newtown thing go already, how long are you people going to hash this out. This tragedy has nothing to do with what happened there.
  34. WileE2
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    WileE2 - December 20, 2012 10:50 pm
    Good thing she didn't shoot her daughter with an assault weapon... That would have been sooo much worse

  35. fboilly
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    fboilly - December 20, 2012 9:00 pm
    What a vile, disgusting human being. Imagine the horror this little girl felt as she realized she was being thrown out a moving vehicle like so much trash. And the pain she must have felt! Does Montana offer lethal injection, the electric chair or is hanging still allowed? Can this witch have all three?
  36. Rvrldy
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    Rvrldy - December 20, 2012 8:27 pm
    Let's see if she ever does any time. If anyone else throws their baby out of the car, would it take 3 weeks before arrest? It would make National news. Is she even in jail now?
  37. crankshaft
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    crankshaft - December 20, 2012 8:19 pm
    injun joe, its alright that i spelled it wrong because i am not reproducing, and thanks bout time
  38. justwondering
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    justwondering - December 20, 2012 8:00 pm
    I hope she has nightmares for the rest of her life for treating a little angel like that. Why didn't somebody take that child from her??? A senseless death could have been prevented
  39. Penguin Bug
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    Penguin Bug - December 20, 2012 7:57 pm
    If the investigation results in confirmation that this 'person' killed her daughter, let the punishment fit the crime (ie: tossing her out of moving vehicle at highway speed).
  40. prettyinpink
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    prettyinpink - December 20, 2012 7:55 pm
    what on earth could someone be thinking to throw such a precious gift from God out of a moving vehicle. So so sad. She should be demanded to have her tubes tied and never ever have anymore children.
  41. maggie2043
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    maggie2043 - December 20, 2012 7:32 pm
    Wow, mother of the year award here!!!!!
  42. bout time
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    bout time - December 20, 2012 7:27 pm
    I am with you crankshaft!!!
  43. Injun Joe
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    Injun Joe - December 20, 2012 7:16 pm
    Crankshaft, you spelled unbelievable wrong.
  44. D Lo
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    D Lo - December 20, 2012 6:28 pm
    so sad
  45. Rice Pudding
    Report Abuse
    Rice Pudding - December 20, 2012 6:25 pm

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