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Press Release

Mission Women Charged with Assault Resulting In Serious Bodily Injury and Child Abuse

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

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that three Mission, South Dakota, women have been indicted by a federal grand jury for Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury and Child Abuse.

Verna Blue Thunder, age 41; Lorraina Lydia Stead, age 25; and Lydia Lorena Stead, age 21; were indicted on August 16, 2016.  All three appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno and pled not guilty to the Indictment.  Lydia Lorena Stead made her initial appearance on August 24, 2016, Verna Blue Thunder on August 25, 2016, and Lorraina Lydia Stead on September 1, 2016.

Verna Blue Thunder faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years, up to life in custody on the charge of assault resulting in serious bodily injury to a child. All three women face up to 15 years in custody on the child abuse charges.  Each charge may result in up to a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that between January 1, 2016, and June 25, 2016, Verna Blue Thunder unlawfully assaulted a child who had not attained the age of 18 years, and that assault resulted in serious bodily injury to the child.

The Indictment also alleges that between October 29, 2014, and June 25, 2016, all three women abused two minor children, who had not attained the age of seven years, and aided and abetted in the offense.

The charges are merely accusations and the Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie G. Sanderson is prosecuting the case.   

Lydia Lorena Stead was released on bond.  Verna Blue Thunder and Lorraina Lydia were remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.  A trial date has been set for November 1, 2016.

Updated September 8, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice