Impending parenthood should be one of the most exciting periods in an expectant couple’s life. For Ashton Matheny, though, he faced an unimaginable situation following the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind in August 2017. However, the single father finally broke his silence on the matter four months later.
Together for seven years, Ashton and Savanna had been on course to embark on the next stage of their lives. While temporarily living with her father, mother and brother in an apartment building in Fargo, North Dakota, the pregnant 22-year-old was only a month away from the due date of their little girl.
Savanna moved to the city a year earlier for her job, working as a nursing assistant at a retirement home. However, with a baby on the way, she also had an eye on the future, signing a lease for a new apartment with Ashton. Unfortunately, though, everything changed on the afternoon of August 19, 2017.
The LaFontaine-Greywinds received a knock at their door from their upstairs neighbor Brooke Lynn Crews, who asked if Savanna could do her a favor. She said that she was sewing a dress, and would give the 22-year-old $20 to model it for her. The expectant mother agreed to help out, before letting Ashton and her mom know she was leaving the apartment.
However, later that afternoon, Savanna still hadn’t returned home, prompting her brother to head to Crews’ apartment. No-one answered the door, which led the 22-year-old’s father Joe Greywind to try himself. Unlike his son, though, he was greeted by Crews, who informed him that their work on the dress wasn’t finished yet.
As time continued to progress, the situation didn’t change. Worried, the 22-year-old’s mother Norberta LaFontaine-Greywind then knocked on Crews’ door later in the day, only to be told that Savanna was no longer there. “I immediately knew something was wrong because her car [was there],” she said to the Duluth News Tribune on August 22, 2017.
“She’s eight months pregnant,” the elder LaFontaine-Greywind continued. “Her feet were swollen, so she wouldn’t have taken up walking like that. There was pizza here that she hadn’t eaten. She would not just leave that lady’s apartment and go somewhere.”
Ashton, much like the family, hadn’t heard from Savanna either, prompting Norberta to finally call the police. That weekend, they conducted three searches of Crews’ apartment, but apparently didn’t find anything. Meanwhile, the 22-year-old’s concerned boyfriend joined the search, desperately hoping to find her.
“I stopped in every store in that area and asked if they had seen Savanna,” Ashton recalled to People magazine in December 2017. “I put fliers on every light pole. I went to gas stations. Then each day, after it got darker, I would lose faith.” However, five days after her disappearance there was a major breakthrough.
Crews lived in her apartment with boyfriend William Hoehn, who was working for a roofing company in Fargo. During their interviews with his colleagues, the police discovered that he’d mentioned having a newborn in the couple’s apartment. That proved sufficient enough evidence for them to get a search warrant for the residence.
Later that afternoon, police found Crews with a little baby girl in her home. DNA tests confirmed she was Savanna’s child. The pair were subsequently arrested, charged with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and giving false information to the authorities.
However, the desperate search for Savanna came to a heartbreaking end on August 27, 2017. A group of kayakers on the Red River came across a large object, taped up in plastic. According to the autopsy, she had died as a result of “homicidal violence.” During his police interview, Hoehn gave an account of the alleged aftermath of her death.
According to court documents, Hoehn saw Crews mopping up blood when he returned home the day after Savanna’s disappearance. His girlfriend then allegedly brought the child to him. Crews’ next words might even be described as chilling: “This is our baby. This is our family.”
For his part, Hoehn confessed that he gotten rid of garbage bags filled with bloody items, but pled not guilty to the charges. However, Crews herself did plead guilty on December 11, 2017. “The defendant lured Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, who was eight months pregnant, up to her apartment as part of a conspiracy to murder Savanna and steal her unborn baby,” the prosecutor said at the hearing.
As for Ashton, he finally broke his silence on what had happened in December 2017, after being reunited with his daughter Haisley Jo three months earlier. “She’s a Daddy’s girl,” he told People of his baby. “Now I’m Mom and Dad. I have to go over a checklist every time I leave the house.”
To add to the heartbreak, Ashton told People that Savanna “was so good with kids,” and “would have been the best mom ever.” He then opened up about his speculations, revealing that the police refused to tell him how exactly how his daughter had been brought into the world, much less how his girlfriend had sadly left it. As he put it, “They kept it from me. I just know how they found her. All I have are my theories.”
“I don’t know how they got her body out of there that fast,” Ashton said of Crews and Hoehn. “Maybe they took her out of there right away. I don’t know.” Regardless, the single dad believes Savanna’s death “wasn’t human.” Thankfully, the 22-year-old’s loved ones were finally given a form of closure in February 2018.
Crews was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Frank Racek on February 2, 2018, much to Ashton’s relief. He spoke out at the Cass County Courthouse. “I’d like to thank Judge Racek for not showing any lenience towards Brooke. After finding out what happened to Savanna and how my daughter was born, it kind of tore me apart. It still does.”
“Our seven year anniversary is coming up on March 20,” Ashton continued. “Every day I’m reminded of her more and more. I hope no one else in this community, in the United States, in the world, ever has to endure the pain that I do, that the Greywinds have to.” As for Hoehn, he faces a trial in March 2018.
Ashton Matheny’s life changed forever in August 2017, following the horrific death of his pregnant girlfriend Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind. However, with one of the culprits now behind bars, the families of the victim can finally start to move forward. Especially with baby Haisley Jo by their side.