FARGO, N.D. — The family of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind demanded an apology Monday, Oct. 29, from the Fargo Police Department regarding the way officers conducted searches of a north Fargo apartment after the pregnant woman disappeared on Aug. 19, 2017.
High-profile California attorney and victim advocate Gloria Allred called for the apology after the sentencing of William Hoehn, who was given life in prison with the possibility of parole for his guilty plea on a charge of conspiring to kidnap LaFontaine-Greywind's newborn daughter, Haisley Jo. Hoehn's then-girlfriend, Brooke Crews, has admitted to cutting the infant from LaFontaine-Greywind's body in the apartment the couple shared in north Fargo.
Police did three consensual searches of the apartment, starting with one conducted within hours of when it is believed LaFontaine-Greywind was killed and her baby taken from her womb.
Police found nothing suspicious in any of the searches, even though Hoehn has said LaFontaine-Greywind's body was in the apartment when two of the searches were done and the infant was in the apartment each time.
Allred said at a news conference after Monday's sentencing hearing that comments Fargo Police Chief David Todd has made regarding the searches were inadequate in explaining why nothing was found, and she said the family is owed an apology.
Todd has said that when the searches were done, police were dealing with a missing person report regarding a 22-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant, not a missing baby. He also said officers must walk a fine line when conducting consensual searches because if they become too aggressive suspects can withdraw their permission and freeze out police.
A Fargo police spokeswoman said Monday that Chief Todd stood by his earlier statements.
Todd later posted a video on the Fargo police Facebook page, describing Allred's comments as "unfortunate" and adding that he feared they could create division between the community and the police department.
Todd said Fargo police are "absolutely committed to providing the best service and protection for all members of the community."
"The Fargo police chief should stop making excuses and stop trying to justify a search that, in my opinion, should be considered an embarrassment to the police department," Allred said during Monday's news conference.
After obtaining a search warrant, police ultimately found the baby, alive and healthy, in Crews' possession in the couple's apartment on Aug. 24, 2017. Kayakers found LaFontaine-Greywind's body in the Red River on Aug. 27, 2017.
Allred said the Greywind family was satisfied with Cass County District Judge Tom Olson's sentence on Monday. Greywind family members also expressed deep thanks to the community for the support they have received.
"All the hugs they've given to us, we're very thankful," said Joe Greywind, the father of LaFontaine-Greywind.