Warning: The following information is graphic and may be upsetting to readers.
MISSOULA, Mont. - Leannah Gardipe, 34, has been charged with two counts of deliberate homicide after court documents say she slit her 3 and 5-year-old children’s throats with a steak knife.
The children were found dead in the bedroom closet tucked into bedsheets, with knife wounds and defensive marks on their hands.
Those same court documents state Gardipe’s mother called 911 Friday, Nov. 19, after a phone conversation with her daughter. Gardipe had allegedly told her mother she had “saved her babies.”
Gardipe also called 911 shortly after to “report a murder.”
The father of the two children, Travis Sandberg, previously voiced concern for Gardipe's mental health.
On Feb. 4, 2021 an Intervention Conference was held between Gardipe and Sandberg. According to the Conference Report, Sandberg filed a Proposed Parenting Plan on Dec. 18, 2020, following an incident on Dec. 9, 2020.
While visiting family in Kalispell with her two children, Gardipe said she experienced a serious mental health episode which resulted in her going to the emergency room. She made a report saying she was hurting her children.
Later, Gardipe said it was a "false report" brought on by her mental health issues. As a result, Child Protective Services removed the two children from Gardipe's care and placed them with their father, Sandberg.
In the Conference Report, Gardipe says she spent three weeks at Pathways Treatment Center in Kalispell following the incident. She said she was attending weekly therapy in Missoula and regularly meeting with her doctor.
Custody hearings continued throughout the year and the latest order from the court put the children in the care of Gardipe a majority of the time with Sandberg getting visitation two weekends out of the month and every Wednesday.
Gardipe remains in custody at Missoula County Detention Facility.
In February 2021, the State of Montana received a federal disaster relief grant to provide crisis counseling for all Montanans experiencing stress, depression, sadness, fear, anxiety and other mental health impacts. This service continues to be available.
The Crisis Response Call line is available at 1-877-503-0833.
- The line is available Monday – Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Feb. 15, 2022.
- The Crisis Response line does not replace other crisis call lines, Employee Assistance Programs, or the suicide hotline.
- If someone is having thoughts of suicide, they are encouraged to call (800) 273-TALK or (800) 273-8255 or text “MT” to 741741.
Montana Crisis Recovery is a COVID specific crisis call center available to all Montanans staffed by Crisis Counselors. All calls to the line are free, confidential, and anonymous.
Crisis Counselors can:
- Help identify information and resources available to callers and problem solve through the stress they are experiencing.
- Provide an immediate listening ear without judgment, offer emotional support, and focus on immediate needs.
For more information visit: https://montanacrisisrecovery.com/.