WOODWORTH, N.D. -- The two-day search for a 4-month-old boy came to a tragic end on Saturday, July 7, with the discovery of the baby’s body just southeast of Woodworth.
Searchers located the baby on land in some weeds near a slough at around 3 p.m. Saturday, said Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser, who led the search involving more than 30 people from seven agencies to cover an 8-mile area.
“We did find the 4-month-old close to our search area that we were looking in,” Kaiser said. “We received some better information from the mother and we were able to then locate the baby.”
The body was taken to the North Dakota State Forensic Examiner in Bismarck for an autopsy, Kaiser said.
The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assisting with the investigation, Kaiser said. There was nothing obvious to indicate the cause of death, he said.
“We won’t know the cause of death until the autopsy,” he said.
The search for the baby started Friday and focused on a slough and agricultural land southeast of Woodworth and northwest of Buchanan.
The baby’s mother, Justice Lange, was in a Fargo hospital on Friday, Kaiser said. He did not know if she remained hospitalized Saturday, Kaiser said.
Lange’s Facebook page states that she is from Carrington but lives in Fargo. She posted photos of herself with an infant on Facebook in February.
Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office received a welfare call for Lange and her baby from concerned family on Monday, Kaiser said. Because the baby and the mother were together, and there was no abduction, no Amber alert was issued.
Carrington Police Department was looking for Lange after family reported a stolen a pickup, Kaiser said. The truck was located near where Lange was found walking by a farmer early Friday morning.
The farmer drove Lange to her grandmother’s home in Carrington, Kaiser said. The grandmother called the police after Lange said she couldn’t remember the previous four days or where her baby was, he said.
The search focused on the area she last remembered being with the baby, Kaiser said. The area Lange was walking, where the stolen pickup truck, and articles of clothing belonging to Lange and her baby were all within 2 miles of the slough where the body was found, he said.
The search on Saturday started with the discovery of more clothing that belonged to Lange and the baby, Kaiser said. The 90-degree heat and weeds hampered the search with two boat motors failing, he said.
“It’s been a tough day,” Kaiser said. “It’s over and it was a bad outcome but we’re happy to find the baby and get some closure for the family.”