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Kyle woman pleads not guilty to child abuse, murder in 2020 malnutrition death of 2-month-old child

If convicted, Red Owl could be sentenced to serve up to life in prison and be ordered to pay fines as high as $250,000.

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RAPID CITY — A Kyle woman is facing life in prison after a federal grand jury charged her with murder and child abuse in the 2020 death of a child.

Billie Jean Red Owl, 34, of Kyle, was indicted Nov. 18, 2021, on one count of first-degree murder and one count of felony child abuse. On Monday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Dakota announced she pleaded not guilty to both charges before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann.

The charges allege that in 2020, in Kyle, within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Red Owl engaged in a pattern of child abuse, including failing to provide sufficient food, hydration and medical care to her child, who was under the age of 7 years. As a result of the alleged abuse, resulted in the death of the child.

According to an obituary, Red Owl was the mother to a child who died in September 2020 at 2 months old.

The death of the child was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Red Owl remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service pending a trial, which has been scheduled to begin Aug. 23.

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If convicted, Red Owl could be sentenced to serve up to life in prison and be ordered to pay fines as high as $250,000.

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