Who are Tammy and Erich Longie? Foster parents get life for torturing Raven Thompson, 5, to death
Tammy and Erich Longie also abused Raven's brother Zane Thompson, 7, at their home in Tokio, North Dakota
TOKIO, NORTH DAKOTA: Tammy Longie, 48, had pleaded guilty in January to three counts of child abuse and neglect as well as second-degree murder in Indian Country. Longie was sentenced to federal court on August 8 in a case that US Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl called “tragic and horrifying.”
Prosecutors claim that Longie and her co-defendant husband Erich Longie, 45, fatally abused the young girl, Raven Thompson, and also severely mistreated Zane Thompson, the girl's 7-year-old brother. According to Valley News Live, 5-year-old Raven Thompson was the victim who died. Both children were the abusive couple's foster kids.
According to the US Department of Justice, agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs responded to the Longie residence in Tokio, North Dakota, on May 6, 2020, which is located on the Spirit Lake Reservation. They discovered Raven Thompson there, already deceased and bruised all over. She was bleeding between her skull and brain as a result of the assault, which resulted in "bilateral subdural hematomas." Abrasions and contusions consistent with "multiple episodes of inflicted trauma" were noted by the pathologist.
According to the documents "Tammy stated that she woke up around 6:00 AM on May 6, 2020 and did not see Child 1. She yelled outside for Child 1 and then went downstairs to the basement. Tammy did not want to go downstairs because she “had a funny feeling” but did not know why. Tammy saw Child 1 lying on the floor. She called Child 1’s name but there was no answer, then Tammy touched her and she felt cold. Tammy ran upstairs, woke up Erich, and told him that she thought Child 1 was dead."
Although he still lives, Raven's older brother Zane spent a month in the hospital. The boy had bruises all over his body in addition to this he suffered from a heart condition due to malnutrition. Authorities claim the children's bruises were consistent with abuse.
Authorities stated that the children had been living with their foster parents, the Longies, since July 2019. Two biological children were also abused in the home, according to investigators. According to a report from The Bemidji Pioneer, federal authorities removed seven kids in total, ranging from between 11 months to 12 years, from the home.
Documents state that Tammy Longie denied being abusive, "Tammy denied abusing the children, stating that … she would only hit the children open-handed on the butt, put them in time-out, or make [them] go to bed early. Tammy denied seeing anyone else in the house being physically abusive to the children."
According to the authorities, Erich Longie also denied physically abusing the kids. But in the end, he entered a plea of guilty to first-degree murder, three counts of child abuse in Indian Country, and three counts of child neglect in Indian Country. He was consequently given a life sentence in prison in June.
United States Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl of the District of North Dakota said, "This is a tragic and horrifying case. The children were subjected to ongoing physical and psychological abuse by [Tammy] Longie, who was in charge of looking after and shielding them. In particular, Longie's treatment of R.T., age five, and Z.T., age seven, which resulted in R.T.'s death and Z.T.'s serious injuries, represents some of the worst aspects of humanity. With the sentence she received today, she will no longer be a part of her community."
If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.