Wyoming Woman Accused Of Torturing Son Wants Out To Be With Her 5 Other Small Kids

A Wyoming woman who could face life in prison if convicted of torturing, starving and confining her 13-year-old son is pleading with the court for release to “re-unite” with her other five small children.

CM
Clair McFarland

February 21, 20248 min read

Truman and Kandace Sittingeagle
Truman and Kandace Sittingeagle (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A woman accused of torturing, starving and confining her 13-year-old son in her home in Arapahoe, Wyoming, made a plea Tuesday to be released from jail while her federal child-abuse case is ongoing.

Kandace Sitting Eagle, 33, and her husband, Truman Sitting Eagle, 36, were indicted Jan. 10, each with one count of seriously injuring a child, one count of beating a child with a blunt object, one count of confining a child, another of aggravated child abuse involving “torture and cruel confinement” of Kandace’s son, who is Truman’s stepson.

They each face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.

‘To Re-Unite With My Children’

Kandace Sitting Eagle in a handwritten letter filed Tuesday asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shickich to review his earlier detention order and consider letting her out of jail.  

“I would sincerely and greatly appreciate the opportunity to be released back into society so that my incarceration does not affect my transition into society,” wrote Sitting Eagle in the letter.

She listed a detailed plan to “get my life back on track and do whatever it takes to maintain a life of success.”

The plan includes enrolling in a Riverton-based discipleship program, taking anger management classes, going to church, getting a job at an auto parts store, obtaining a mental health evaluation, taking parenting classes, enrolling in college courses, staying away from drugs and people on drugs, and working with Northern Arapaho Department of Family Services “to re-unite with my children.”

Her letter says she's been sober for the past six years.

Before her arrest, Kandace Sitting Eagle was a stay-at-home mother, including to five small children ages 8, 6, 4, and 2 years old; and another who is 10 months old, she wrote.

‘Horrendous’

Kandace Sitting Eagle’s attorney submitted an official motion for detention review Feb. 5, to which Kandace’s letter acts as a supplement.

The motion itself is not publicly accessible, but the Feb. 6 response by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron J. Cook is.

Cook argues against Sitting Eagle’s motion, saying no new facts have emerged since Shickich ordered her detained initially, she poses a safety risk to her other children and the community, and she could try to abscond from justice.

“The defendants in this case perpetrated horrendous child abuse against a minor victim, which included multiple serious assaults, unlawful detention and starvation,” wrote Cook. “The defendant (Kandace) also repeatedly lied to a law enforcement officer about the minor victim’s whereabouts on the day the minor victim was discovered during a welfare check. (She) cannot be trusted to properly care for other minor children.”

Kandace and Truman each face a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted of seriously injuring the boy.

The steep minimum sentence could incentivize Kandace to flee, Cook argued.

This Determined Cop

Bureau of Indian Affairs School Resource Officer Matt Lee had been trying to figure out where the Sitting Eagles’ 13-year-old boy was for some time prior to Dec. 12, the evidentiary affidavit in the case says.

The boy hadn’t been to school in a month, and Lee went to the Sitting Eagles’ home multiple times to find him, but couldn’t.

On Dec. 12, Lee demanded to see the boy.

One school employee told Cowboy State Daily that Lee told the Sitting Eagles he would not leave their property until they produced the boy.

Truman went and retrieved the boy from a crawl space under the trailer house home, the affidavit says. The boy later told authorities that Truman told him to put his shoes on and hide in the crawl space just as Lee arrived.

Two Hospitals

The boy’s face was bruised and swollen and he’d lost about 10 pounds from when Lee had last seen him, reportedly.

An ambulance took the boy to Riverton’s SageWest Health Care, then an air ambulance took him to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

FBI Special Agent Scott Jensen went to see the boy while the latter was still at the Riverton hospital and found his face, arms, ears, chest and back bruised. Lacerations riddled his fingers, face, ear and scalp, says the affidavit.

The document says the boy moved slowly and fought back pain.

He was also hungry, having eaten only a sandwich for several days and a bag of chips on the way to the hospital, says the affidavit.

Maybe, For Thanksgiving 

During a child and adolescent forensic interview, the boy reportedly said he had a “bad habit” of stealing food and hiding it in his room. His stepfather and mother, the Sitting Eagles, told him he was causing a mouse problem, the affidavit relates from the boy’s interview.  

When they found he was stealing food, they tried tying his bedroom door closed, but he was able to sneak out at night and get food, the affidavit says.  

“This made them mad. They put a lock on his door. They also screwed the window shut so he could not get out that way,” Jensen wrote.  

Two weeks passed.  

The boy thought they’d let him out for Thanksgiving, but they didn’t, the affidavit says.  

He lost track of time and things became “foggy,” says the document. He heard his mom yell at him through the wall saying he’d been in there for a month, and “wouldn’t he like to be out having fun with the family?” Jensen related.  

The document says that sometimes they’d give him food, usually leftovers. He had nothing to do and sat in his room. 

Blacking Out, Waking Up 

When he’d stolen food prior, his parents would allegedly hit and punch his face. 

Truman Sitting Eagle put a choke hold on the boy until he lost consciousness, and when he “woke up,” Sitting Eagle hit him, the document says.  

When he lost consciousness, the boy felt “numb;” his body felt like spaghetti; his head tingled, and he drifted in and out of waking at least twice, says the affidavit.  

Meanwhile, his mother Kandace was “taking care of the babies or taking the girls to school” during the alleged chokeholds.  

The boy reportedly said that Truman Sitting Eagle would hit him if he didn’t answer questions the right way.  

His mom would also hit him in the head with her hands, but that “her hits did not hurt,” Jensen related.  

Kandace Sitting Eagle told Truman at some point, “You need to quit hitting that boy or something bad will happen,” says the affidavit.  

Truman Sitting Eagle also would hit the boy with a stick from the closet, which the boy tried to block with his hands until they swelled up “like balloons,” says the document.  

One day the boy reportedly woke to his mother hitting his hands with the stick. 

On another occasion the boy stood in the corner of his room while Truman Sitting Eagle rifled through, looking for food and wrappers. When Truman found some food, the mother reportedly kneed the boy between the legs, dropping him to the floor.  

Broken Back, Broken Face 

Dr. Kristine Campbell evaluated the boy at the Primary Children’s Hospital said that in addition to the bruising and cuts, the boy’s right nasal bone was fractured and his spine contained healing lumbar fractures, the affidavit relates. He had another serious reported injury which Cowboy State Daily has chosen not to disclose. 

Authorities forensically interviewed the boy’s five half-siblings who are all younger than 9.  

A little girl confirmed that the boy had a lock on his door, says the affidavit.  

Another little girl said she doesn’t like how her brother gets hurt. 

“Sometimes her parents hurt (the boy) and he can’t walk,” Jensen related, adding that the boy “screams when Truman Sitting Eagle hits his legs.” 

Another child confirmed that the parents hurt his brother “by beating him up,” the affidavit says.  

Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter