WHITE EARTH RESERVATION — The family of a slain mother feels their pursuit for justice is being silenced as Indian Child Welfare services won't allow her children to wear a hoodie in her memory.

Thirty-six-year-old Natasha Thompson was killed in July 2019 during a family gathering in Rice Lake on the White Earth Indian Reservation. Police say Tristan Edward James Kilde — who was dating Thompson's younger sister — stabbed Thompson in the heart after some horseplay turned violent.

Dozens of family members and friends wear "Justice for Natasha" clothing.

"Every time I put this on I feel like she is with me," said Theresa Sayers as she looked at her hoodie with her daughter's face on it.

Until recently, Natasha Thompson's 14-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter also wore the hoodies. Thompson's children are in foster care.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Sayers claims she has been told by child welfare services that Thompson's children are not allowed to wear clothing that pushes for justice in the case. She claims that social services told them the hoodies are not age-appropriate.

"Nobody should have to tell them what they can and cannot wear," Sayers said.

The White Earth Nation would not comment on the situation, but issued this statement: "Any rules set by ICW are not meant to be offensive as they are in place to safeguard the children and ensure we are looking out for their best interests.”

"It's almost like telling them 'that did not happen to your mother,'" Sayers said.

Charges in stabbing death

If convicted of murder, Kilde, of Clearbrook, faces up to 40 years in prison. Lawyers for both sides are still sifting through evidence and talking with witnesses, so it's unclear when Kilde will return to court.

According to an earlier Forum News Service story, a witness told authorities that Kilde was at the residence with Thompson, Thompson’s stepfather, as well as a few other people. Kilde and Thompson’s stepfather began “play fighting.”

Tristan Kilde
Tristan Kilde

The situation escalated when the stepfather allegedly teased Kilde and Kilde punched the stepfather in return. The stepfather than head-butted Kilde, resulting in a cut near his eyebrow. Others at the get-together separated the two men.

Thompson then walked out of the home. Some time thereafter, the witness walked outside and saw Thompson push Kilde in the chest. The witness told the authorities Kilde than pushed Thompson with his left hand while grabbing a pocket knife with his right hand. Kilde allegedly then stabbed Thompson in the “upper chest under her arm,” according to the criminal complaint.

Thompson was allegedly conscious for roughly 15 minutes after the stabbing before she lost consciousness.

The report also said Kilde tried to help Thompson after the stabbing. Kilde allegedly told an emergency medical technician that he “stuck his finger inside the wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding,” according to the complaint.