The family of Fargo murder victim Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind has hired nationally known victims' rights attorney Gloria Allred to represent them in the aftermath of the young woman's death.
"Justice is the first thing the family is concerned with," said Janel Herald, a family friend who has been acting as their spokeswoman.
LaFontaine-Greywind, 22, who was eight months pregnant, disappeared Aug. 19 from the Fargo apartment she shared with her parents. According to police, she went upstairs to help a neighbor with a sewing project and never returned.
Days later, police searched the neighbor's apartment and found a newborn baby. The neighbor, Brooke Crews, and her partner, William Hoehn, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to murder. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
DNA tests later proved that the baby was LaFontaine-Greywind's daughter with her longtime partner, Ashton Matheny. The child, named Haisley Jo, is living with her father and doing well, family friends say.
After a weeklong search involving hundreds of volunteers, LaFontaine-Greywind's body was found Aug. 27 by kayakers in the Red River, wrapped in plastic and duct tape. Fargo police said she died of "homicidal violence," but have released no further information. The search warrant returned in the case was sealed by a judge, who ruled that revealing it before trial could be prejudicial to the defendants.
Allred, who keeps offices in California and New York, has been involved in high-profile cases for decades, often centered on civil rights and women's rights. Her website touts her as "advocating tirelessly and successfully for those whose rights have been violated."
She's perhaps best known for representing the family of Nicole Brown Simpson during the O.J. Simpson murder trial. The former football star was charged with killing his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. After a trial that riveted the nation for months, O.J. Simpson was found not guilty.
Allred also represented the family of a boy who accused the late pop star Michael Jackson of sexual abuse. She's currently representing many of the women who have made allegations of sexual assault against comedian Bill Cosby, as well as several women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexually assaulting them.
Allred's office did not return calls and e-mails Friday.
Fargo City Attorney Erik Johnson said he can't speculate on why Allred might be involved in the case. There's currently no legal action by the family involving the city, he said.
John Reinan • 612-673-7402