Brooke Crews, the 'womb raid' killer, was obsessed with babies and kept a secret journal with recipes for abortion.

She was obsessed with serial killers, attacked her husband with a knife and was sizing up other people's children long before she committed the shocking murder of pregnant Savanna Greywind, said news.com.au.

She kept a secret journal which showed her fixation with children and which had recipes for aborting foetuses or bringing on childbirth.

The bizarre and violent life of brutal "womb raider" killer Brooke Lyn Crews across several US states and in Australia looks like a rehearsal for the murder which has now put her behind bars forever.

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Grisly details of the attack, which only emerged at her sentence hearing, revealed that Ms Greywind was invited up to Crews' Fargo, North Dakota apartment to help sew a dress.

Prosecutors said the two women argued, and Ms Greywind was pushed and briefly knocked out before Crews began cutting the baby from her womb.

William Hoehn (left) expressed his love for Crews but she became restless and disaffected. Photo / Supplied
William Hoehn (left) expressed his love for Crews but she became restless and disaffected. Photo / Supplied

Ms Greywind was still alive when this happened, but bled to death and her body was wrapped in plastic and dumped in the Red River, over the Minnesota border outside Fargo.

Her daughter, Haisley Jo, survived and was present in court with Ms Greywind's tearful partner Ashton Matheny as the terrible details were read out.

Now aged 38, Crews will spend life without parole in a North Dakota prison.

But her relationships and encounters with people over the last two decades show Crews was obsessive, had poorly controlled aggression and an ability to frighten people.


Almost a year before she murdered Ms Greywind, Crews crossed paths with a young mother in an eerie encounter.

Roxane Cartwright told Fargo newspaper The Forum that when she saw Crews' arrest on television in August last year "my hair stood up. I knew right away it was her."

Ms Cartwright had stopped at a Fargo restaurant for a meal in September 2016 with her husband and their four sons and daughter.

The couple were driving back from Arkansas after finalising the adoption of their baby daughter.

Family members listen to the sentencing of Brooke Crews for the murder of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind. Photo / David Samson /The Forum via AP
Family members listen to the sentencing of Brooke Crews for the murder of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind. Photo / David Samson /The Forum via AP

A woman, who she believes was Crews and who was seated at another table with a man, approached the family and stared at the little girl.

Acting as though she wanted to hold her, Crews repeated, "She's exactly what I want."

Ms Carwtright says her son told the woman, "That's my sister, Sofia," to which she replied, "Sofia, that's the name. That's exactly what I want."

"Her eyes were huge," Ms Cartwright said of the woman she believes was Crews. "She was fixated on my daughter."

Ms Cartwright was so unsettled, she then stood in front of her daughter who was being held by another relative.

Then she took her baby and pretended to breastfeed her as Crews continued to stare, and other customers in the restaurant noticed the bizarre situation.

Crews had been living for five years with William Hoehn, her co-accused in Ms Greywind's murder.

Hoehn, who is being tried separately, was himself found guilty of fracturing his own baby son's skull six years ago.

Then aged 25, was charged with child neglect or abuse after he brought his son to hospital in January 2011 with fractures near the right ear.

Hoehn told police he came home to the flat he was sharing with Crews to find the bathroom full of blood and Crews holding a baby.

She told him, "This is our baby. This is our family."

Hoehn admitted removing garbage bags containing bloody towels and his own bloody shoes from the apartment and throwing them in a dumpster, but denied killing Ms Greywind.

Crews' motive for murdering Ms Greywind to take her baby may stem from a 2011 miscarriage which rendered her incapable of having more children.

An Australian man who was briefly married to Crews told news.com.au exclusively about the incident, her serial killer obsession and her aggressive behaviour.

Crews, whose maiden name is Doolin, grew up in Florida in an otherwise normal family, but she was a troubled young woman.

In 1995, when she was about 17 years old, she gave birth to a daughter with Florida man Aaron Edwards.

Savanna Greywind's boyfriend Ashton Matheny holds their daughter, Haisley Jo, during the sentencing of Brooke Crews for murder. Photo / AP
Savanna Greywind's boyfriend Ashton Matheny holds their daughter, Haisley Jo, during the sentencing of Brooke Crews for murder. Photo / AP

Crews worked as an animal technician at a pet store, and as a sales representative.

But after moving away from Florida, she had little to do with Mr Edwards or their daughter until the girl was 14, and Crews contacted her via Facebook.

There was further brief contact with the girl on Facebook, but Mr Edwards heard nothing

of Crews until her arrest for murder.

Crews began having a series of run-ins with the law.

Aged 23, she was jailed in Missouri for passing false cheques, and was later jailed again, in Texas, for a parole violation around the time she was waitressing in a Chinese restaurant.

Crews had a string of lovers and prided herself on it, but in 2006 she married Minnesota carpenter, Carl Crews.

The couple had two children and Brooke worked as an administrative assistant for Carl Crews' Carpentry.

The marriage faltered after three years, and Brooke took off for California, but she returned to the marital home.

Her ex-husband reported she was a meticulous record and journal keeper.

In old journals uncovered since her arrest, Crews wrote about her various lovers and about home births and abortions, HPR reported.

The disturbing notes include a list of items for a "childbirth kit", such as scissors, blades, clamps and gloves, plus the hormone Oxytocin which can cause labour contractions or induce abortion.

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Crews visited Australia, the third visit happening just after she was arrested for assaulting Carl Crews with a knife.

In an affidavit for custody of their two children, Mr Crews wrote that she often ran from her problems and cited the trips to Australia as an example.

Crews had met Katoomba chef Andrew Murray online on the dating site, Tagged.

In February 2012, a month after the knife attack on her ex-husband, Crews moved to the Blue Mountains and she and Murray were married.

Brooke Crews leaves the court on Friday, after her sentencing for conspiring to murder Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind. Photo / AP
Brooke Crews leaves the court on Friday, after her sentencing for conspiring to murder Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind. Photo / AP

But the marriage only lasted a matter of months.

Mr Murray said the relationship fell apart when he discovered she had lied about her past, including the fact she had children and had been married before.

Then things took a nasty turn, when she began threatening him, he said.

In all, it was six months and 10 days from the time she arrived until she was gone, returning to the US In October, 2012.

"It was all lies, it was all based on lies," he said. "I didn't know she was married in America, didn't know she had children and then it all started coming out. And I said 'look, I want you to go home and be a mother to your kids'."

He said she was obsessed with true crime. "She studied psychology and nursing and did her thesis on serial killers.

"She was always reading books on serial killers and murders and could tell you anything about them."

Mr Murray said Crews told him she lost a baby in 2011 and was unable to have children as a result of the miscarriage.

"As time passed on, she seemed to get more and more aggressive," he said.

"And when I told her go home to be a mother to her kids she started talking about her ex and stuff ... to be honest I thought she might try and get custody of her kids or visitation rights and then [flee] across state lines.

"She started getting nasty and saying the police wanted to speak to me.

"So I walked in there and said 'I understand you want to speak to me.' I gave them my licence [because] I had nothing to hide."

The officer denied they were investigating him, but said it was clear something was wrong.

"I told them everything," he said. "I showed them text messages that said the cops were looking for me ... I have immigration paperwork left with false names on it ... When we got married, she used the name Crews as her maiden name, and it isn't her maiden name."

He began to delve into her past and discovered she'd been lying. She was furious when he confronted her.

"She just got really aggressive and angry that I had found things out. That's when she started threatening me with the police. I thought, 'I'm not scared of you, I've done nothing wrong.'"

It was clear she had lived a double life. When she went back to the States, they spoke for two weeks afterwards.

"I was actually thinking of moving over and giving it a go and once she got back to America she just seemed to get really nasty," he said.

But Mr Murray had never imagined Brooke could be violent.

When he learned about her arrest, it shocked him "to the bone".

But he was also angry because he believed what had happened might have been avoided.

After Crews left Australia, Mr Murray was so concerned about her erratic behaviour he contacted police in Fargo to alert them.

"I rang the police in North Dakota one night," he said. "They just didn't care."

After Crews returned from Australia to North Dakota, she engaged in a lengthy custody battle over her two children with Carl Crews.

On December 23, 2014, Crews was diagnosed with anxiety reaction at a Fargo medical centre which she told she had PTSD.

The relationship with William Hoehn began in late 2012, months after his child abuse conviction.

Crews' ex-husband was awarded sole custody of their two children, but Brooke had visitation rights.

Just as she moved from man to man, Crews moved jobs, working at a dollar store, an old people's home and different nursing homes.

Hoehn declared his love for Crews in a letter, writing "I want to make you feel as loved as you are.

"You're beautiful and so smart. You make me laugh, not just laugh but smile on the inside."

A page from the journal Brooke Crews wrote in obsessively about her life and (above) denying she attacked her ex-husband with a knife. Photo / Supplied
A page from the journal Brooke Crews wrote in obsessively about her life and (above) denying she attacked her ex-husband with a knife. Photo / Supplied

In her journal, Crews at first returned the love, but that changed.

"I feel like I started this relationship with my purse chock full of love coins and slowly but surely that purse has become empty, and I've simply nothing left to give," she wrote.

"Our intimacy isn't so intimate anymore."

In 2015, after receiving a doctor's report about a growth in her gall bladder, her mood turned dark.

"Perhaps: there are two distinct 'personalities' within each of us (darkness and light)," Crew entered in her journal..

"One of them is socially obliterated fairly early or are we born with the one (I believe, we're predetermined with two distinct thought processes that manifest as personalities).

"Is it normal for humans to have this 'dark' side? Seems so."

William Hoehn will face trial for Ms Greywind's murder in May. He has pleaded not guilty.