US attorney says Spirit Lake child died of SIDSFARGO, N.D. (AP) — A 2-month-old girl whose death federal officials said may have been a result of neglect on the Spirit Lake Reservation died of natural causes, a prosecutor said.
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A 2-month-old girl whose death federal officials said may have been a result of neglect on the Spirit Lake Reservation died of natural causes, a prosecutor said.
Federal officials have accused tribal officials of failing to protect vulnerable children by repeatedly ignoring reports of child abuse and neglect. Complaints have come from officials with the U.S. Administration for Children and Families and the Indian Health Service. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs assumed control of the tribe's social service program in October.
But U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon told The Forum newspaper that the death of Debra Kay Andersen Dogskin, which happened July 7 at her mother's home in St. Michael, was a result of sudden infant death syndrome.
The state medical examiner determined the cause of death, and federal prosecutors decided against filing charges, Purdon said. The investigation took almost five months, Purdon said.
"This investigation was taken very seriously and done by the book and there was a great deal of resources committed to it," he said.
Tribal officials have cited a lack of federal funding and other help for problems in social services administration. Tribal Chairman Roger Yankton also has said the problems predate his administration.