Skip to main content
Press Release

St. Michael Woman Pleads Guilty to Felony Child Abuse and Witness Tampering

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

FARGO – U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on July 15, 2013, Hope Louise Tomahawk Whiteshield, 32, of St. Michael, N.D., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson to one charge of felony child abuse, which caused the death of a young child, and one charge of witness tampering.

The incidents occurred in June of 2013 on the Spirit Lake Indian reservation.

In Fargo, U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon said, “The guilty pleas entered today by Hope Whiteshield are an important step in securing justice for the victims in this case. The North Dakota U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to protecting the children of Spirit Lake and all the Reservations in North Dakota and the primary way we serve that commitment is through the prosecution and conviction of those like Hope Whiteshield who commit crimes against children.”

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.

Under the terms of the Plea Agreement that was filed in this case, the United States will be recommending a total sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment on the two felony charges and the defendant has agreed not to seek a sentence of less than 25 years imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Sentencing for Whiteshield will be scheduled at a later date.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Janice M. Morley and Megan A. Healy are prosecuting the case.

Updated January 29, 2015