Fargo couple accused in kidnapping have at least 9 kids between them
FARGO — The last thing Brooke Lynn Crews put on the public portion of her Facebook page are the words: "When you truly stop caring what the (expletive) anyone thinks of you, you will reach a whole new level of freedom."
That was on New Year's Eve, and only one friend commented.
Starting on Friday, Aug. 25, many more people commented, but they were calling Crews names and wishing her a long stay in prison. Several wondered whether she had children of her own.
Crews, 38, was arrested the day before along with her boyfriend William Henry Hoehn, 32, for their alleged involvement in the disappearance of a pregnant neighbor, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, 22. Police found a newborn baby in Crews and Hoehn's apartment who they believe is LaFontaine-Greywind's, but the mother was nowhere to be found.
In Bradenton, Fla., Aaron Edwards, who had a child with Crews 22 years ago, said he was shocked to learn from his daughter that her mother had been accused of such a crime. To him, she was not particularly dangerous but irresponsible, not having been involved with their daughter's upbringing for the past 19 years and not paying child support.
He said his daughter is in touch with three other siblings who have been similarly ignored by Crews, and he knows Crews has at least three more children. "It just seemed like she was more into doing her partying, do her own thing and not have to have anything holding her back. And she wanted to go off and do what she wanted to."
Hoehn has at least two children of his own, one of whom he physically abused in 2011 when the boy was a baby, according to court records.
The Forum tried to contact the mothers of Hoehn's children and others who knew Crews but was unsuccessful.
Mother of seven
When Edwards knew her, Crews was a 15-year-old from Bradenton named Brooke Doolin, and she had already been a mother for a few years, he said. He was 18 then, and she told him she was 18 also, he said, but he found out the truth when he took her to see the doctor while she was pregnant with their daughter.
She stuck around a couple of years but eventually left him to be with someone else, he said. He hasn't heard from her for 19 years, and their daughter has only had contact with her over Facebook for a few months about seven years ago, he said.
From what Crews told him, she seemed to have had a rootless childhood bouncing in and out of foster care, though she never used that to justify her behavior, he said. She had a powerful temper, he said, but wasn't violent except for their last fight over bills when she threatened him with a hammer.
Court records from Florida, Minnesota and North Dakota show Crews has had children by at least five men. Two of the men, including Edwards, and her eldest child, who's now in her mid-20s, sued her for child support.
Edwards said the courts lost track of her for a while because she didn't seem to have a permanent address. He said she paid a total of about $600 in child support.
She seemed to have settled down a few years ago after giving birth to her youngest children, now 12 and 14, and marrying their father, Carl Crews of Perham, Minn. Court records show they divorced in 2008, and there was a dispute over her paying child support in 2015 when the court noted she was "voluntarily unemployed."
A baby's fractured skull
Crews started dating Hoehn around 2014, and it seemed to have been a stormy relationship, according to court records.
In May 2016, not long after they moved into the apartment they were living in until their arrest, police reported they had a fight that led to Hoehn throwing her into the bathtub. He pleaded guilty to simple assault and was ordered by the court to have no contact with Crews.
Police came to their apartment again six months later after hearing of a disturbance there and found Hoehn with Crews. He pleaded guilty to violating a no-contact order.
Hoehn, too, seemed to have had a difficult upbringing.
In 2001, a few weeks after he turned 16, he sued his father Dean and mother Carolyn Johnson for a few thousand dollars in child support, according to court records. He was living in Fargo then, while his father lived in Larimore, N.D., and his mother in Kingsville, Texas.
Three years later when he was 18, he would be sued for child support himself by Ryananne Hunsberger, a Philadelphia woman. Their child is now 13. Six years later, he became a father again when he was with Angela Nelson, a Grand Forks woman.
In 2011, when the younger of his two children was a baby, Hoehn brought him to a Grand Forks hospital where doctors found fractures in his skull near his right ear. Law enforcement officials determined the fractures couldn't have been caused by an accident or medical condition and charged Hoehn with child abuse. The boy, who is now 6, wasn't expected at the time to have long-term health consequences.
Hoehn pleaded guilty in 2012 just before a jury trial was to begin.
He was sentenced to one year in the Grand Forks County jail with about two-thirds of that time suspended and was placed on two years of probation. A no-contact order between Hoehn and his son was lifted in June 2012.
On the public portion of Hoehn's Facebook page, one of the most recent postings is a video captioned: "So how's 2017 going so far?" In the video, a boy at an indoor playground jumps off a platform onto some flexible webbing high above the ground only to plunge through all of the webbing into the darkness below.