Tokio, ND, Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Death of Foster Child and Abuse and Neglect of Other Children
Fargo – United States Attorney Jennifer Klemetrud Puhl announced that Erich Longie, Jr. of Tokio, ND, appeared before Chief Judge Peter D. Welte, U.S. District Court, Fargo, ND, and was sentenced to serve life in prison after having plead guilty to First-Degree Felony Murder within Indian Country; three counts of Child Abuse in Indian Country; and Child Neglect in Indian Country.
On May 6, 2020, agents with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation responded to the home of Erich and Tammy Longie on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Law enforcement observed a deceased 5-year-old child in the basement of the home and observed bruising throughout the body. An autopsy concluded the death a homicide and identified the cause of death as bilateral subdural hematomas incurred from assault. The pathologist observed abrasions and contusions consistent with "multiple episodes of inflicted trauma." The child’s sibling was examined at a local hospital and determined to need a higher level of care and was hospitalized for more than a month. An attending physician explained the child had bruising over the child’s body consistent with abuse. The primary medical concern, however, was heart failure due to malnutrition.
Spirit Lake Tribal Social Services ("SLTSS") had placed the two children in foster care in the Longie home in July of 2019.
The investigation revealed that two biological children were also abused including with objects and hands.
Co-defendant Tammy Longie plead guilty to Second-Degree Murder; three counts of Child Abuse in Indian Country, and Child Neglect in Indian Country and is scheduled for sentencing. Sentencing for Tammy Longie before Chief Judge Peter D. Welte is scheduled for August 9, 2022.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office, with Assistant United States Attorney Lori H. Conroy assigned to the case.