News and Press Releases

St. Michael Woman Charged with Child Abuse in Death of a Toddler at Spirit Lake

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2013

GRAND FORKS - U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced today that Hope Louise Tomahawk Whiteshield, of St. Michael, N.D., has been charged by Complaint with Child Abuse and Neglect in Indian Country.

Whiteshield, 31, made her first appearance before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Charles S. Miller, Jr., today at 3:30 p.m. The alleged incident involving the death of a two year old child, as described in the complaint, occurred on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation on or about June 12, 2013.

Judge Miller ordered Whiteshield to be temporarily detained until her detention hearing on Monday, June 24, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. in Grand Forks, N.D.

In Fargo, U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon said, “The criminal complaint filed today represents the initial charges in this matter. The investigation into the circumstances of this tragedy is continuing. The protection of children is a top priority for my office and we are doing everything possible to thoroughly and deliberately investigate this matter.”

The charge of child abuse and neglect in Indian country carries a statutory minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.

Purdon stressed that the Complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Janice M. Morley is prosecuting the case.

 

 


 

 

Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Justice 101
What Makes Schools Safer? Using science to discover what works. Federal funding available. Visit NIJ.gov, keywords: 'comprehensive school safety intiative'