• Tammy Longie will serve life in prison for the death of her foster child and abuse-related charges
  • Longie's husband, Erich Longie Jr., was also sentenced to life on similar charges in June
  • Investigators found the dead body of Longie's 5-year-old foster child in the family home's basement

A woman from North Dakota was sentenced to life in prison Monday over the death of her foster child in May 2020 in the basement of the family home in the Spirit Lake Reservation. Another foster child under her care was hospitalized for malnutrition.

According to a press release published Monday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of North Dakota, Tammy Longie, 47, from Tokio was sentenced to life on a charge of second-degree murder within Indian Country, three counts of child abuse in Indian Country, and child neglect in Indian country. Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl announced the sentence.

The press release added that agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs probed Longie's residence on the Spirit Lake Reservation on May 6, 2020, where they found the body of a 5-year-old girl in the basement. Agents witnessed "bruising throughout the body" of the 5-year-old girl. The autopsy confirmed that the child's death was a homicide, with the cause of death being bilateral subdural hematomas incurred from assault.

Longie had another foster child, a 7-year-old boy, in her care. He was examined at a local hospital after bruises were found on his body. Later, he was hospitalized for over a month. An attending physician informed the child was consistently abused and was facing medical concerns of heart failure due to malnutrition, local KVLY-TV reported.

Court records had revealed that the 7-year-old was found in the back of a vehicle at Longie's home. Prosecutors alleged in 2020 that the boy was hit with various objects such as shoes, a paddle, and sticks.

The attorney's office also revealed that two of Longie's biological children were abused "with objects and hands."

Longie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges against her in January, NBC affiliate KFYR-TV reported. Her husband and co-defendant in the case, Erich Longie Jr., also pleaded guilty to similar charges in April last year.

It was late in June when Puhl announced Erich Longie Jr.'s sentencing. Longie Jr. was sentenced to life on one charge of first-degree felony murder within Indian Country, three counts of child abuse in Indian Country, and child neglect in Indian country.

In July 2019, the Spirit Lake Tribal Social Services (SLTSS) placed two children in the Longie home for foster care. North Dakota newspaper The Dickinson Press identified the deceased foster child as Raven Thompson, while the other foster child was identified as Zane Thompson. According to the newspaper, Thompson was described as "lifeless" in the days leading to her death, as stated in court documents.

When the couple was charged in 2020, North Dakota U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley said it was "jarring to go through that evidence," as he spoke about the five-page indictment containing details about the abuse faced by the foster children.

Picture taken on March 15, 2016 shows locks on the bars of a jail cell at Riihimaki Prison in southern Finland. TROND H TROSDAHL/AFP/Getty Images