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Missoula woman held on $10M bail for allegedly killing her children

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Leannah Gardipe

Leannah Gardipe

A Missoula woman is held on $10 million bail for allegedly killing her 3- and 5-year-old children with a knife at their house near Reserve Street on Friday.

Leannah J. Gardipe, 34, is charged with two counts of deliberate homicide. She appeared Monday afternoon in Missoula County Justice Court.

Missoula sheriff’s deputies were called to a reported homicide at 8:05 a.m. Friday at a house on Patty Ann Drive. The initial 911 caller, Gardipe’s mother, said she had been on the phone with Gardipe, who told her mom she had “saved her babies,” possibly referring to her two young children, according to charging documents.

When Gardipe’s mom asked her if she meant she killed her two young children, Gardipe started crying.

Shortly after, Gardipe called 911 herself, wanting “to report a murder” and saying her mom should be calling too and that “I just told her.”

Gardipe told dispatchers the incident happened that morning with a knife in her bedroom, and that “(she) was supposed to die today.” She indicated she was waiting for law enforcement to arrive and asked medical services to be sent because she could still hear noises from one of her children. 

When deputies got there, they instructed Gardipe to exit the front of the house, but she instead stepped back inside and locked the door. She was still on the phone with 911 at the time. When the dispatcher told her officers were there to help her, she responded “no they are not, not for what I did.”

Deputies went around the back of the house, where they found Gardipe and secured her.

The two children were laying on a bed with no movement when officers found them. They had significant lacerations on their throats, apparently inflicted from a knife, and defensive wounds on their hands. They were pronounced deceased after medical examination.

In their search of the house, law enforcement found a note that read “it was the only way that we all wouldn’t burn, now I’m the only one of us that will.” They also found a bloody serrated steak knife underneath the bed and a pool of blood on the floor of one of the children’s bedrooms. No one else was located in the house.

Missoula County Deputy Attorney Brian Lowney requested a $4 million bond, saying part of the reason for the high amount is because it is possible Gardipe has access to significant financial resources. 

Gardipe is accused of murdering some of the most vulnerable victims our community has in a brutal fashion, Lowney said, adding possible mental health issues could've been at play, but they also could not have. 

Gardipe elected to be represented by the public defender's office. Public defender Ted Fellman asked for a significantly lower bond. 

Missoula County Justice of the Peace Alex Beal set bail at $10 million, saying Gardipe is the greatest risk to the community possible. If she does post bail, she is only to be released to pre-trial supervision and to possess no weapons. She was ordered to have a mental health evaluation. 

Deliberate homicide is punishable by up to life in prison. 

Gardipe's arraignment is set for Dec. 6 at 9 a.m. in Missoula County District Court. 

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