A WOMAN dubbed the “womb raider” has pleaded guilty to murdering her pregnant neighbour so she and her lover could steal and keep the victim’s baby.
Brooke Crews, 38, changed her plea to guilty at a hearing in Fargo, North Dakota, and will be sentenced next month.
News.com.au last week revealed Crews had previously lived in Australia and illegally married a Blue Mountains man, chef Andrew Murray, after meeting him on a dating website.
The relationship ended when Mr Murray exposed the double life she was leading and he confronted her about the lies she’d told.
He had been unaware she was married and had several children back in the US.
She now faces life in jail after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder. Her victim, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, was a neighbour who was believed to have been enticed into her home to look at a dress.
Police have still not said exactly how Ms Greywind was killed — leading to speculation she was stabbed and her baby taken from her body.
Another possibility is Crews helped induce the child and then killed Greywind, whose body was found floating in a river wrapped in plastic and bound with duct tape eight days after she vanished.
A list in what was purportedly her journal, Crews wrote a list of things she would need for her “homebirth,” including a “childbirth kit,” an “emergency plan,” and “emergency supplies, including CPR bag for infants or medication for excess bleeding,” reported magazine HPR. It was one of her final entries before her arrest.
Crews and her boyfriend, William Hoehn, 32, had previously pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping in the death of Greywind. Fargo Police Chief Dave Todd has said her death was a “cruel and vicious act of depravity”.
Crews’ lawyer Steven Mottinger said she wanted to take responsibility for her actions, but didn’t say how Greywind was killed.
He told a local newspaper the guilty plea “goes a long way in terms of us being able to argue for something less than life without parole.”
Greywind was eight months pregnant when she disappeared on August 19 in Fargo.
Authorities said after her body was found she may have been the victim of “womb raiders” who forcibly took her baby, the Star-Tribune reported at the time.
The baby was later found alive in the apartment where Crews and Hoehn lived, in Greywind’s building.
Crews previously told police Ms Greywind gave her the baby voluntarily after she helped induce the baby.
But Hoehn told police a different story, according to court documents. He said he came home on August 19 to find Crews cleaning up blood in their bathroom. Hoehn said Crews presented him with an infant girl and said: “This is our baby. This is our family.”
Hoehn told police he took garbage bags containing bloody shoes and bloody towels and disposed of them, according to the court documents.
Hoehn’s trial has been set for March.
The baby, Haisley Jo, is now in the custody of her biological father, Ashton Matheny, who was Greywind’s boyfriend.
Mr Murray told news.com.au he was “mortified” when he Googled her name and discovered the allegations against her.
“I just couldn’t believe it to be honest. I had voiced my concerns about her mental state … but wasn’t expecting that.
“It sort of shocked me to the bone. It’s been five years and I’d shut a lot of things out, but a lot of stuff has come back now.”
He said she was obsessed by true crime and serial killers.
“She studied psychology and nursing and did her thesis on serial killers. She was always reading books on serial killers and murders and could tell you anything about them.”