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Press Release

Tokio, ND, Woman Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of Foster Child and Abuse and Neglect of Other Children

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

Fargo –United States Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl announced that Tammy Longie 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 Second-Degree 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 home of Erich Longie, Jr., and Tammy Longie in July of 2019.

The investigation revealed that two biological children were also abused including with objects and hands.

"This is a tragic and horrifying case," said United States Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl. "The children endured prolonged physical and emotional abuse by Longie, who was responsible for caring and protecting them. In particular, Longie’s physical and psychological abuse of five-year-old R.T. and seven-year-old Z.T. represents some of the worst of humanity; for Longie ultimately killed R.T. and severely injured Z.T. Today’s sentence ensures that she will be removed from her community forever."

Co-defendant Erich Longie, Jr. plead guilty to First-Degree Murder; three counts of Child Abuse in Indian Country, and Child Neglect in Indian Country and was also sentenced to serve life in prison.

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.



Terry W. Van Horn 701-297-7458

Updated August 8, 2022