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Press Release

Wolf Point woman admits murder charge in death of child

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

GREAT FALLS — A Wolf Point woman suspected in the death of a child on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation admitted to a murder charge today, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Heather Dawn Smith, aka Heather Dawn Yellow Owl, 32, appeared for arraignment on a superseding information charging her with second degree murder and pleaded guilty to the crime. Smith faces a maximum of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Nov. 1. Smith was detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that on Nov. 8, 2020 in Wolf Point, Smith beat the victim, a two-year-old child identified as Jane Doe. When Smith checked on the victim on Nov. 12, the child was unresponsive. The child was transported to the hospital in Wolf Point, where she was pronounced dead. The cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lori Harper Suek and Ryan G. Weldon are prosecuting the case. The FBI, Fort Peck Tribes Criminal Investigation and Wolf Point Police Department conducted the investigation.



Clair Johnson Howard

Public Affairs Officer


Updated June 5, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 23-177