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Woman Admits Murder Charge In Death Of Child

A Wolf Point woman suspected in the death of a child on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation admitted to a murder charge on Wednesday, May 31, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Heather Dawn Smith, aka Heather Dawn Yellow Owl, 32, appeared for arraignment on a superseding information charging her with second degree murder and pleaded guilty to the crime.

She faces a maximum of life in prison, a $250 fine and five years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Nov. 1. Smith was detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that on Nov. 8, 2020, in Wolf Point, Smith beat the victim, a 2-year-old child identified as Jane Doe. When Smith checked on the victim on Nov. 12, the child was unresponsive. The child was transported to the hospital in Wolf Point, where she was pronounced dead. The cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lori Harper Suek and Ryan G. Weldon are prosecuting the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fort Peck Tribes Criminal Investigation and Wolf Point Police Department conducted the investigation.

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