BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — Cassandra Black Elk has officially been freed of Child Neglect charges that were placed on her following the Bismarck native finding her three-week-old daughter unresponsive.
Police believed that Black Elk was too intoxicated to care for her daughter, resulting in the baby’s death.
Black Elk eventually pleaded guilty to the crime, but later sought post-conviction relief. At a court hearing, Black Elk testified that she repeatedly asked to see the autopsy results but did not receive them prior to her guilty plea. She also testified that her attorney at the time, James Loraas, advised her that pleading guilty would be the best outcome for her.
Fast forward to last week, October 19, when Black Elk’s new attorney, Gabrielle Goter, filed a Motion to Dismiss the case. The motion cited that following further investigation into the case, there was no longer sufficient evidence that existed to prove the case in trial.
It was stated that based on Black Elk’s personal loss and the time she spent in custody (as well as the involvement of Child Protective Services and the Human Service Zone) that continued prosecution against Black Elk was no longer needed.
The following day, the case was officially dismissed by the state, and the charge of Child Neglect was officially dismissed from Cassandra Black Elk’s record.
You can read the full Motion to Dismiss as well as the Order to Dismiss below: