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'What did you see?': Investigators heard varying stories from murder conspiracy suspect

William Hoehn, left, sits in District Court with his attorney Daniel Borgen on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Fargo during his trial for conspiracy to commit murder of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a 22-year-old whose baby was cut from her womb. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

FARGO — “What did you see, Will?”

The question was asked many times during interviews Fargo police conducted with William Hoehn in August 2017, just days after a very pregnant Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind disappeared from a north Fargo apartment building.

Cass County District Court jurors watched video of those interviews Thursday, Sept. 20, during the third day of Hoehn’s trial on a charge of conspiring to murder LaFontaine-Greywind, who vanished the afternoon of Aug. 19, 2017.

Her body was found in the Red River eight days later without the baby she had been pregnant with.

In video jurors watched Thursday, Hoehn, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge, is seen in a police interview room answering questions.

Some of his statements seemed to hint that LaFontaine-Greywind’s baby girl, who was cut from her mother’s womb and ultimately reunited with family, was possibly missed by police who searched an apartment more than once for the girl’s missing mother.

Hoehn’s responses were sometimes punctuated with F-bombs, and sometimes his voice dropped to a hush that was difficult to hear.

In an interview Hoehn gave police the night of Aug. 22, 2017, he told investigators that when he returned home from work about 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2017, LaFontaine-Greywind was in the apartment that he shared with Brooke Crews, his girlfriend at the time.

Hoehn said Crews briefly introduced him to LaFontaine-Greywind before he went to “fire up” his computer so he could play video games later. He said he then proceeded to the bathroom, where he prepared to take a shower.

Hoehn said at one point he heard a knock at the apartment door, so he cracked open the bathroom door to hear who it was.

He said he could hear LaFontaine-Greywind’s father, Joe Greywind, chatting with Crews but he couldn’t hear what they said.

He said LaFontaine-Greywind had left the apartment by the time he finished his shower.

Hoehn was interviewed again on Aug. 24, 2017, after police executed a search warrant at his apartment and found Crews in possession of a newborn child later determined to be LaFontaine-Greywind’s daughter.

In that interview, Hoehn said that as he entered his apartment after work on that fateful Saturday in 2017, he found the bathroom a bloody mess and Crews presented him with a newborn child, stating: “This is our baby, this is our family.”

Hoehn said he responded with, “What the …?” but then set about helping clean up the mess.

He said he put bloody rags in two bags and stored them in the apartment until he was able to take them to a dumpster somewhere in West Fargo.

Asked why he didn’t use the apartment building’s dumpster, Hoehn said he was afraid of encountering LaFontaine-Greywind’s family members who, according to Hoehn, had begun to “terrorize” the couple, whom they suspected of having a part in LaFontaine-Greywind’s disappearance.

In that second interview, Hoehn’s answers turned vague when he was asked about LaFontaine-Greywind, telling investigators at the outset: “I’m not going home tonight. Nothing is going to get any better for me at this point.”

Hoehn said that for months he had been under the impression Crews was pregnant, but he still wasn’t sure what to make of things when he came home from work and “found a baby in my house.”

Investigators repeatedly asked Hoehn about LaFontaine-Greywind’s whereabouts and everything that he saw when he arrived home from work.

“What did you see?” they asked him again and again.

Sometimes the question was met with long silences. Sometimes Hoehn offered a short answer: “I saw a baby.”

“I believe you walked in on a lot more than that,” said one of the investigators, who pressed Hoehn on how it was possible for a baby to have been born and for LaFontaine-Greywind to have disappeared in the approximately one hour that elapsed between the time it’s believed LaFontaine-Greywind went to the apartment and the time Hoehn arrived home that day.

During the second interview, Hoehn was asked how he and Crews kept the baby so quiet.

“She’s just a really good baby,” Hoehn said, adding that Crews fashioned a bed for the infant using a suitcase.

“The baby was right there,” Hoehn said when asked about the time period of the initial police searches of the apartment.

Crews has pleaded guilty in the case and is serving a life sentence.

It’s possible a video of an interview she gave to police will be shown during the trial, and Crews is expected to take the stand, possibly early next week.

Detective Joshua Loos testified Thursday that after the first interview with Hoehn, authorities discovered that he had done some shopping at Walmart and among the things he bought were diapers for newborns.

Asked in the second police interview about the trip to Walmart, Hoehn said Crews and the child were with him on the trip.

He said when they returned home afterward, their purchases and the baby were carried into the apartment building just as police were approaching.

LaFontaine-Greywind’s parents testified earlier that they witnessed that episode the night of Aug. 22, 2017, outside of the apartment building, where the Greywind family also lived.

The parents told police they saw Crews carrying a bag into the apartment building and that she carried it in a protective manner under her arm.

Loos said the search warrant executed on Aug. 24, 2017, was obtained on the basis of Hoehn’s purchase of diapers at Walmart.

Hoehn’s attorney, Daniel Borgen, stressed during opening arguments that Hoehn has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and to a charge of lying to police. But Borgen maintained Hoehn never entered into an agreement to commit murder.

Prosecutors maintain Hoehn and Crews conspired to kill LaFontaine-Greywind, steal her baby and raise the girl as their own.

Dave Olson
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