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Published July 11, 2012, 06:17 PM

Child neglect may have led to the death of an infant in Spirit Lake

Spirit Lake Reservation (WDAY TV) -- A 2-month-old has died on the Spirit Lake Reservation.

By: WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Spirit Lake Reservation (WDAY TV) -- A 2-month-old has died on the Spirit Lake Reservation.

Activists say the death of 2-month-old Deborah Anderson was preventable, and they say family was denied help from social services when they asked for it. Federal officials say the family reported suspected child neglect to Tribal Social Services, Benson County Social Services and law enforcement agencies.

The child's mother, Rainey Anderson, had also been reported for suspected drug use and allegations of neglect of her other children.

Tribal Social Services says they had no jurisdiction in the matter, because the mother and child weren't tribal members, even though they lived on the reservation.

Betty Jo Krenz, former Spirit Lake social worker, says, "The people of North Dakota are very caring people. They have big hearts. But we're also naive. We like to not thing that murder and neglect and abuse are happening in our back yard."

Tribal leaders have faced massive criticism since April when a study came out documenting massive corruption and neglect by tribal social services.

Tribal chairman Roger Yankton says the tribe has been working to fix the problems.

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