For eight agonizing days in August, Ashton Matheny waited for word about his longtime girlfriend, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, who had vanished when she was eight months pregnant with their first child.
“I lost ten pounds because I couldn’t eat,” the 22-year-old North Dakota native tells PEOPLE. “I couldn’t eat a thing.”
Joining police, family, friends and volunteers in the search for the young mom-to-be, Ashton talked to everyone he could in hopes of finding her. “I stopped in every store in that area and asked if they had seen Savanna,” he says. “I put fliers on every light pole. I went to gas stations. Then each day, after it got darker — I would lose faith.”
Five days after Savanna went missing, Ashton got a bit of good news: police found the couple’s days-old baby in Savanna’s neighbors’ third-floor apartment. The baby was healthy — but Savanna was still missing.
Three days later, Ashton got the news he dreaded when he learned Savanna’s slain body had been found in the nearby Red River wrapped in plastic and duct tape.
Police did not give Ashton any details about how Savanna died or how the baby was born, he says.
“They kept it from me,” he says. “I just know how they found her. All I have are my theories.”
He says he believes the baby was ripped from Savanna’s womb — “cut out like a C-section.”
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Prosecutors say Savanna’s upstairs neighbors killed her in a plot to steal the baby she was carrying.
One of her neighbors, Brooke Lynn Crews, 38, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and giving false information to the police.
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Crews pleaded guilty to the charges on Dec. 11 and will be sentenced on Jan. 16. Her live-in boyfriend, William Henry Hoehn, 32, was arrested on Aug. 24 on the same charges. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting a March trial. They each face life in prison without parole.
Ashton says he has spent the last four months wondering what happened to the mother of his only child – the woman he says he planned to marry.
Considering that police searched the suspects’ apartment hours after Savanna was reported missing, he says, “I don’t know how they got her body out of there that fast. “Maybe they took her out of there right away. I don’t know.”
However Savanna died, he says, “it wasn’t human.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Haisley Jo and Ashton with expenses.