In a tragic case that has shaken the community, Leannah J. Gardipe, a 35-year-old Montana woman, has been sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of her two children, aged 3 and 5. Gardipe had previously pleaded guilty in August to the horrifying crime that took place in their Missoula home in November 2021.
Authorities responded to the residence on November 19, 2021, where they discovered the lifeless bodies of the children, identified as Namaus Sandberg, 5, and Evelyn Sandberg, 3, with fatal stab wounds and severe injuries. Court documents revealed that the children had also suffered “significant cuts to their throats” and defensive wounds on their hands and fingers.
Gardipe’s mother made a distressing 911 call after the 35-year-old informed her that she had “saved her babies,” as reported by the Missoulian. The sentencing revealed a heartbreaking victim impact statement from Travis Sandberg, the children’s father, who expressed his pleas and concerns about Gardipe’s capability to care for their children.
“I begged and pleaded in this exact courtroom. I pleaded over and over again, if you give her these children, she will hurt them,” Travis stated during the sentencing, as reported by the Missoulian.
Gardipe, who had been made the primary guardian during a parenting plan hearing in 2021, insisted on saving her children during the sentencing, stating, “I was supposed to die with them,” according to the Missoulian. Previous court documents and statements indicate that Gardipe had made similar remarks before the tragic incident.
In February 2021, court documents from a conference hearing on custody revealed that Gardipe had visited the emergency room after a serious mental health episode, expressing intentions of harming her children. Travis had raised concerns about the children’s safety under Gardipe’s care.
The heartbreaking obituary for Namaus and Evelyn mourns the loss of “two beautiful children” who will be remembered by family and friends.
As the community grapples with the profound sadness surrounding this devastating case, the sentencing of Gardipe serves as a somber conclusion to a tragedy that has left a lasting impact.