A Mission man accused of murder, assault and child abuse blamed the 8-year-old victim's 9-year-old sister for the injuries that led to her death, court documents show.

A federal grand jury indicted Noah White Lance III, 33, on Nov. 8 for first-degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon to a child, assault resulting in serious bodily injury to a child and child abuse for the August abuse and death of the 8-year-old and abuse toward the 9-year-old.

According to an arrest affidavit written by FBI Special Agent Nathan Entingh, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services Special Agent Matt Tucker told him that White Lance called 911 on Aug. 11 and said the 8-year-old girl was unresponsive after her sister had grabbed her hair and pulled her down, causing her to hit her head.

First responders arrived at a residence in Mission where White Lance and the two girls were living outside. White Lance was carrying the unresponsive 8-year-old girl. She was flown to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls and placed on life support. A doctor in Indiana reviewed CT scans of the girl's brain and described the brain trauma she endured as acute, chronic, non-accidental and consistent with child abuse.

On Aug. 12, a certified nurse practitioner interviewed the girl's sister at the Central South Dakota Child Advocacy Center. She said she wrestled her little sister, who forgot how to tap out and hit her head on the floor.

The 8-year-old girl died on Aug. 13 after being taken off of life support. After a Department of Social Services worker informed the 9-year-old of her sister's death over a Zoom call, she said "my dad did it because he beat her too much."

During an interview five days following her sister's death, the girl told the same certified nurse practitioner that White Lance made her wrestle her sister to teach her a lesson, and that White Lance would strike both girls in the past with various objects, including a belt, a slipper and White Lance's work boot. The girl did not want to talk about what happened leading up to her sister's hospitalization during that interview.

In a third interview, the girl declined again to talk about the incident and went into a bathroom and began crying.

A month later, FBI Child and Adolescent Forensic Interviewer Amy Scarmon interviewed three child witnesses who all indicated White Lance instructed the 9-year-old girl to "beat up" her younger sister, and that White Lance and the 9-year-old were hitting the now dead girl the day she was taken to the hospital.

White Lance pleaded not guilty to the charges when he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Moreno on Nov. 9. The penalty upon conviction is mandatory life in prison and/or a $250,000 fine and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. A judge may also order restitution.

The case is in federal court because the alleged murder occurred on the Rosebud Indian Reservation and White Lance is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

White Lance is scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 3, 2023 in Pierre if he does not reach a plea agreement with the government by Dec. 20.