A mother whose pregnant daughter was killed by a woman who hacked the unborn child out of her womb and tried to pass the surviving baby off as her own has spoken about the nightmare ordeal – and her poignant bond with her miracle granddaughter.
Evil Brooke Crews lured Savanna Greywind, 22, to her apartment when Savanna was eight months pregnant.
Crews, 39, who lived upstairs from Savanna, cut the infant out of her womb with a carpenter’s knife and left the nursing assistant to bleed to death on the bathroom floor.
With the help of her boyfriend William Hoehn, monstrous Crews hid Savanna’s body in a closet.
Incredibly little Haisley Jo, now 18 months, survived the horrific DIY C-section.
The twisted pair pretended Haisley was their own daughter and even took her for a late night shopping trip to Walmart as cops searched for the missing mother.
Crews later admitted that she attacked Savanna to steal her unborn child, because she believed a baby would salvage her rocky relationship with Hoehn.
She was sentenced to life without parole for the grisly slaughter.
Hoehn, 34, will serve life with the possibility of parole for kidnapping Haisley and lying to police.
Norberta Greywind, 40, was with her daughter the day of the murder and watched as Savanna left the basement apartment they shared to meet Crews in her home on the third floor.
Crews had asked Savanna to model a dress for a sewing project.
Kindhearted Savanna agreed, but expressed doubts to her mother.
Norberta, a former retail manager, of Fargo, North Dakota, recalled: “The last time I saw her, she was walking towards the door.
“She said to me: ‘Mom, you don’t think this woman is crazy, do you?’
“I said: ‘No, I don’t.’
“As she went upstairs, she texted me saying that she ordered pizza and it should be there soon.
“That was the last time I heard from her.”
Inside the apartment, Crews attacked Savanna with a carpenter’s knife and cut the baby out of her as she lay on the bathroom floor.
Horrifyingly, Savanna was alive, drifting in and out of consciousness, during the sadistic attack.
Crews told police: “I did cut her and then I took the baby out of her.
“She was not dead when I cut her and took her baby out of her.”
Crews left Savanna to bleed to death as she cooed over the baby.
She later admitted that she attacked Savanna and stole her baby in an attempt to save her relationship with Hoehn.
Fearing that Hoehn would leave her, Crews had pretended to be pregnant.
When Hoehn realised that Crews was lying about the pregnancy, she claimed in court that he told her to “produce a baby”.
She took this as “an ultimatum” and decided to attack Savanna for her baby and pretend it was her own.
Hoehn walked into the bathroom on August 19 2017 to find Savanna’s bloodied body on the floor and little Haisley swaddled in towels in a mixing bowl on the top of the toilet.
Instead of going to the police, he stripped down to his underwear, cleaned up Savanna’s blood and hauled her body into garbage bags which he secured with electric tape and rope.
The couple hid the body in the bathroom closet and went back to fussing over the baby.
Downstairs, Norberta grew worried when Savanna did not return in time to drive her brother Casey, 18, to work an hour later.
She went upstairs and knocked on Crews’s door but there was no answer.
Ten minutes later her husband Joe, 41, a roofer, knocked on the door.
She said: “Brooke answered and told my husband: ‘We’re not done yet.’
“He thought she meant with the dress.”
When Norberta went upstairs for the final time, Crews calmly told her that Savanna had gone for a walk.
She said: “I knew that wasn’t true.
“Her feet were swollen, she was miserable, it was hot and I knew she wouldn’t be out walking.
“Her car was here, her wallet and everything.”
Norberta repeatedly called and texted Savanna’s phone and contacted her partner Ashton Matheny, 23, a cashier, to ask if he had seen her.
She said: “Instantly I had this feeling that something was wrong.”
She telephoned the police and drove around the block desperately looking for her heavily pregnant daughter.
“I drove around, thinking, ‘Well, if she did go somewhere, it would be nearby’.
“But in the back of my mind, I knew she hadn’t gone anywhere.”
When Norberta bumped into Hoehn in the hallway of the building later that day, he dismissed her concerns.
“I stopped him and said: ‘Which way did Savanna go?’” she recalled.
“He said: ‘I don’t know.’
“I said: ‘Where’s the phone?’
“It was like he brushed me off.”
Hoehn even complained to police that the Greywind family was “terrorising” him by asking where Savanna had gone.
Norberta feared that her beautiful daughter had fallen into the hands of human traffickers.
She said: “I had read a lot about human trafficking. That is right away what went through my mind.
“I kept expressing that to the cops.
“They thought I was crazy.
“I just knew that something was wrong.
“I never ever thought that they did what they had done to her.
“That never even crossed my mind.
“I had seen William and Brooke around, she came into the store I worked in.
“They seemed normal.”
Police searched Crews’s apartment later that day and shockingly they did not discover Savanna’s body or Haisley.
They returned to search the apartment two more times and again, they did not uncover either Savanna or her baby.
Hoehn later told police that he had moved Savanna’s body to a hollowed out dresser and during one search he had hidden Haisley in a suitcase in the apartment.
Two days after the brutal murder, the vile couple drove Savanna’s body to Red River where they dumped her in the water.
Hoehn, who already had a 15-year-old daughter, and Crews, who had given birth to seven children all of whom had been removed from her care, were happily pretending that Haisley was their own daughter.
Hoehn announced to colleagues that Crews had given birth to a little girl called Phoenix.
The brazen couple even took Haisley for a late night shopping trip to Walmart as cops searched for missing Savanna.
He later described his days with Haisley as “great.”
He told police: “That baby made me a happy little family man in two days.
“It was great.
“I never thought I would ever experience that again, man.”
Five days after the murder, Norberta returned from a prayer vigil for Savanna when she saw detectives at her apartment building.
She said: “They told us to go across the street and that they had a search warrant.
“I saw the ambulance flying around the back of the building.
“My neighbours below Brooke and William screamed out of the window: ‘There’s a baby.’
“From that point, I don’t know what I was thinking.
“I start screaming at the detectives that Brooke and William had something to do with it.
“I knew right there that it was my granddaughter.
“I still hoped that they would find Savanna.
“When they told us that Savanna wasn’t up there, we all started searching, hoping she was out there, alive somewhere.”
Haisley was taken to hospital and placed in the care of social services until a DNA test confirmed that she was indeed Savanna and Ashton’s child.
Norberta was not allowed to see the tot for four days.
“I kept asking the cops if I could see her, but they only brought me a picture on a cellphone,” she said.
“I got to hold her for the first time four days later at the hospital.
“She looked so much like Savanna.
“The DNA hadn’t come back yet but I knew instantly that it was Savanna’s baby.”
Norberta’s hopes to be reunited with her daughter finally died on August 27 when Savanna’s body was discovered, shrouded in plastic, in Red River, eight days after her disappearance.
She was identified by the tattoo on her foot which read: “Too beautiful for Earth.”
She had been sliced from hip-to-hip.
Norberta struggled to comprehend what Crews had done to her daughter.
She said: “I was still in shock.
“I didn’t want to believe it.
“Honestly, I’m still struggling with it.
“Obviously I knew what happened to her but I was in shock for probably about a good four months.”
Crews pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and providing false information to law enforcement.
In February 2018, she was sentenced to life in prison.
Hoehn pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and giving false information to law enforcement but insisted he played no part in Crews’s plot to kill Savanna.
Crews testified that she had not informed Hoehn of her plan to kill Savanna.
She said that he appeared surprised to walk into the bathroom and find the bloody scene.
But, she added, he fetched a rope, twisted it around Savanna’s neck and said: “If she wasn’t dead before, she is now.”
A coronor could not determine whether Savanna died of blood loss or strangulation and Hoehn was acquitted of conspiracy to commit murder.
He was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole.
During the sentencing, it was revealed that in 2011 Hoehn had pleaded guilty to fracturing a three-month-old child’s skull.
Norberta said: “I do feel that justice has been served.
“I was disappointed that they found William not guilty of conspiracy to commit murder but I feel better knowing that he was given the maximum sentencing for the kidnap.”
The mother of Savanna, Joe Junior, 21, Kayla, 20, and Casey, 18, paid tribute to her slain daughter and described her as a kind and loving young woman who would have made a wonderful mother.
She said: “She loved kids and the elderly.
“She worked at a senior living community for a year and she loved the residents she took care of.
“She wanted to become a nurse and was supposed to take her test in September.
“She was a happy young woman.
“She and Ashton had planned this pregnancy and she was very excited about being a mom.”
Now Norberta and Joe share custody of little Haisley with her father Ashton.
She said: “We have her probably four to five days a week.
“She’s a happy baby and she’s also very spoilt.
“We have a good relationship with Ashton and he lets us spend as much time with her as we want.”
Norberta criticised police handling of the case.
She said: “They searched the apartment three times and didn’t find anything.
“Part of me feels that they didn’t thoroughly look because they didn’t believe something serious had happened to my daughter.
“I was horrified that Haisley was in the apartment during the searches.
“Savanna was in the bathroom closet and then they moved her to a hollowed out dresser.
“Why didn’t they open the closet doors and move the furniture around?”
Norberta believed her daughter’s disappearance was not taken seriously because Savanna was Native American.
She said: “I feel that her disappearance wasn’t taken as seriously as a white woman’s would have been.
“I’ve lived in Fargo almost my whole life and I’ve seen how Native Americans have been treated differently.”
In the wake of Savanna’s death, Democrat senator Heidi Heitkamp introduced a bill named Savanna’s Act.
The bill aims to stem the epidemic of missing and murdered Native American women by clarifying the law enforcement response to missing person’s reports and increasing communication between federal, state and tribal officials.
Savanna’s Act was passed in the Senate but stalled in the House of Representatives. It will be reintroduced in both Houses this year.
Norberta said: “It’s sad that my daughter had to die for people to take Native Americans seriously.”