FARGO-The unfathomable appears to be moving toward grim reality in the case of a pregnant woman missing for more than a week.
With the Thursday discovery of a healthy newborn in a northside apartment building here, the arrests of two people suspected of kidnapping the child and no trace of the baby's mother, police are considering all possibilities.
Among them, that Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind of Fargo, 22 years old and eight months pregnant, was taken against her will for the purpose of stealing her baby.
LaFontaine-Greywind was last seen Saturday, Aug. 19, when she went on invitation to an upstairs apartment where 38-year-old Brooke Crews and 32-year-old William Hoehn live.
Crews and Hoehn are in the Cass County Jail, held for felony conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
There are an estimated 17 cases of "fetal abduction" on record in the United States since 1974. Attackers-most of them women-either shot, bludgeoned or strangled their pregnant victims, then used a knife, scissors, box cutter or even car keys to cut through the womb.
As of 2010, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported 13 such cases.
A search of media reports since turned up at least four more cases; the most recent happening in 2015 in Longmont, Colorado.
In that instance, a woman lured seven-months-pregnant 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins to her home with an offer of free baby clothes, then beat and stabbed her before removing her fetus. Wilkins lived through the attack by managing to lock herself in a room and call 911. Her baby did not survive.
In five of those 17 "fetal abductions," both the fetus and pregnant woman died, according to news reports.
But in the majority, or 10 of those cases, the baby managed to survive the trauma of the attack, while the mother did not.
The Forum requested doctors at Sanford Health answer a question about the timeframe a fetus could survive if a woman in late pregnancy quit breathing or her heart stopped.
"There can be so many variables involved in medical situations that it is difficult to give specifics without knowing the particular situation," said Dr. James Volk, vice president of Sanford Fargo.
The newborn in this case, discovered Thursday, Aug. 24, in Crews' and Hoehn's apartment, is being cared for at Sanford Children's Hospital.
Fargo Police said the baby girl is in good health and is in protective custody of Cass County Social Services.
In a post on LaFontaine-Greywind's Facebook page two days before she disappeared, she indicated she had hit the 35-week mark of her pregnancy. She was due Sept. 20.
According to Sanford Health, babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are considered premature. However, babies have been shown to survive at just 22 to 23 weeks with specialized neonatal intensive care.
Fargo Police Chief David Todd said interviews with the two people in custody indicate it is LaFontaine- Greywind's baby, but DNA tests will be used to confirm the identification.
Dr. William Masello, the North Dakota medical examiner, said DNA testing is performed at the state crime lab, and the length of time it takes depends on the quality of the sample.
"What they do, they take a toothbrush and try to get DNA, human cells," Masello said, then compare it with the baby's DNA.
Ashton Matheny, who is LaFontaine-Greywind's boyfriend, told The Forum that police had taken the missing woman's toothbrush from her apartment for DNA testing.
"Fetal abduction" cases
1974 in Philadelphia, Pa. Baby survived, mother died.
1987 in Albuquerque, N.M. Baby survived, mother died.
1995 in Addison, Ill. Baby survived, mother died.
1996 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Baby survived, mother died.
1998 in Fresno, Calif. Both baby and mother died.
2000 in Ravenna, Ohio. Baby survived, mother died.
2003 in Okemah, Okla. Both baby and mother died.
2004 in Skidmore, Mo. Baby survived, mother died.
2006 in East St. Louis, Ill. Both baby and mother died.
2008 in Kennewick, Wash. Baby survived, mother died.
2008 in Wilkinsburg, Pa. Baby survived, mother died.
2009 in Worcester, Mass. Baby survived, mother died.
2009 in Washington, D.C. Both baby and mother survived.
2011 in Bowling Green, Ky. Baby survived, mother died.
2011 in Milwaukee, Wis. Both mother and baby died.
2011 in Oakdale, La. Both baby and mother died.
2015 in Longmont, Colo. Baby died, mother survived.
SOURCE: News reports