FARGO-Ashton Matheny is experiencing a deeper hell than most people can imagine.
One week ago, his girlfriend of six years, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, eight months pregnant with their child, disappeared from her north Fargo apartment building.
Then, on Thursday, police found a newborn baby girl in the very same apartment building and arrested two people suspected of kidnapping LaFontaine-Greywind and the baby, and perhaps much worse.
LaFontaine-Greywind, meanwhile, remains missing. Matheny hasn't been allowed to see the baby girl believed to belong to him and his girlfriend. He hasn't even seen a photo of the girl. The couple named their child Haisley Jo.
Although the two suspects told police that the baby belongs to LaFontaine-Greywind, authorities won't allow family to see the child until DNA testing confirms LaFontaine-Greywind is the mother. The baby remains at Sanford Children's Hospital and in the custody of Cass County Social Services.
"It breaks my heart," Matheny says. "They're admitting it's (our) baby. I guarantee if I saw it I could tell whose child is. It doesn't matter what I think. They have guidelines and procedures. It's frustrating, man."
After the newborn was found Thursday, Fargo police took a toothbrush belonging to LaFontaine-Greywind to collect DNA samples. Matheny said police also took some of her clothing so DNA could be collected from them.
Police didn't collect DNA evidence from Matheny right away, perhaps because the couple is not married.
On Friday morning, Fargo Police asked Matheny to come in so they could collect DNA evidence from him. They took three cotton swabs worth of DNA from the inside of his mouth. Matheny was told results would take about a week to produce.
"It's taking forever," he says. "It's taking too long. This whole thing is taking too long."
Matheny and LaFontaine-Greywind were scheduled to move into an apartment together in north Fargo on Friday, Sept. 1. The baby was due Wednesday, Sept. 20. The apartment is across McKinley Park from the building where the Greywind family lives and the woman disappeared.
A member of the Spirit Lake tribe, like LaFontaine-Greywind, Matheny had been staying with his dad on the reservation near Devils Lake until his girlfriend's disappearance. He was helping with construction on his father's house, "trying to get money for the baby." He has been applying for jobs in Fargo in anticipation of his move.
Until June, Matheny had been living in Minneapolis, working construction, but moved back to North Dakota to be nearer to LaFontaine-Greywind as the due date for their child approached.
He was housesitting for his mom in Grand Forks when he learned of his girlfriend's disappearance. He had last communicated with her about an hour before she went upstairs in her apartment building, supposedly to help a neighbor who needed a model to help pin a dress. That neighbor is believed to be Brooke Lynn Crews, who was arrested with the baby in her possession.
LaFontaine-Greywind's mother called Matheny about 4:30 p.m. last Saturday to ask if he'd heard from her. He told her mother that he had texted her at 1:24 p.m.
"She said, 'Something's wrong - Savanna's gone,'" Matheny recalls. "I started freaking out. That's what I've been doing ever since."
He didn't have a car, so wasn't able to get to Fargo until about 9 p.m. the day she went missing. Since then, he's been staying with a friend in Fargo, trying to cope with the agony of everything that has happened.
"It's been the longest week of my life," he said.
On Friday, while family, friends, and the public searched Trollwood Park for LaFontaine-Greywind, Matheny stood apart from the crowd with friends, his head down. Another public search was Saturday at Oak Grove Park in Fargo
"I almost fainted from watching everyone," he said. "I can't go out there and search. I want so bad to help, but couldn't come to terms (with what would happen) if I found her. It would shatter me. It would break me in half."
'Look at her, man'
Matheny and LaFontaine-Greywind met in 2011 at Devils Lake High School. He was a freshman. She was a sophomore. They were just friends the first two months after they met, but then Matheny mustered up the courage to ask her out.
It took two months for them to have their first kiss, he says, but he knew before long that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
"I was the first one to say 'I love you,'" he says. "It's a hard thing to say to someone. I said, 'I love you. I want to be with you.' She was surprised. She said, 'Wow, I never thought you'd say that. I feel exactly the same way.'"
What was the attraction?
"Look at her, man," Matheny says, before pausing and then explaining why he was drawn to her beyond the physical. "She has a kind soul. She's loving. She cares for everyone. All she does is love and give and care."
Matheny and LaFontaine-Greywind have what her mom described as "a different sort of relationship." They have not always lived in the same place. Matheny's parents split up when he was young and he's lived with various relatives, moving back and forth between the Spirit Lake Reservation, Grand Forks and Minneapolis. His father lives on the reservation, his mother in Grand Forks. He has an aunt in Minneapolis. He's also lived with his paternal grandmother.
The couple lived briefly together on the reservation in Matheny's father's house. They also lived together for a short time in Grand Forks when Matheny was living with his brother, working on the sugar beet harvest.
Matheny has struggled to find his place - he would like to make music, has performed in Minneapolis clubs, and has songs on SoundCloud under the name Ash Groove. He's experienced heartbreak before. His older brother killed himself last year on the reservation.
Matheny and LaFontaine-Greywind's relationship has remained strong despite it all.
"All I wanted was a life with Savanna and my baby," he says. "But they took it from me. My world's gone, man. They took my world from me."