Woman Sentenced for Gruesome Murder of Her Young Children

A Montana woman, aged 35, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of her two young children. Leannah J. Gardipe was handed down the sentence by Missoula County District Judge Robert Deschamps, who ordered her to serve her sentence under the supervision of the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services.

Gardipe received two life sentences, one for each of her victims, aged 3 and 5. The sentences will run concurrently. The sentencing took place just a day after the second anniversary of the children’s tragic deaths. Gardipe had pleaded guilty to two counts of deliberate homicide in August, for the double murder that occurred in the family home on November 19, 2021.

Travis Sandberg, Gardipe’s ex-husband and the father of the children, read a victim impact statement before the sentencing. He urged the court to send Gardipe to prison rather than a mental health facility. Sandberg had previously expressed concerns about Gardipe’s mental health. She had once visited an emergency room during a mental health crisis, claiming she was harming her children. She later retracted this claim, attributing it to her mental health struggles.

Following this incident, Child Protective Services placed the children in Sandberg’s care while a lengthy custody battle ensued. Gardipe was eventually granted primary custody after demonstrating that she was receiving weekly therapy, regularly meeting with her doctor, and had spent three weeks at a mental health treatment center.

During the court proceedings, Gardipe attempted to justify her actions, claiming she killed her children to protect them from harm. She expressed remorse and stated that she missed her children every day.

The murders were reported to the authorities by Gardipe’s mother, who received a call from her daughter claiming she had “saved” her children. Gardipe also called 911 to report the murders, admitting to stabbing her children and requesting medical assistance. When law enforcement arrived at the scene, they found the children in a bedroom with fatal injuries. A bloody knife was found under the bed and a chilling note was discovered in the room.