Kylen Tyrone Shangreaux. Photo courtesy Angela Shangreaux / Justice for Kylen

Native Sun News Today: Pine Ridge mother pleads guilty to murder of son

Kylen’s aunt wants his life remembered in a good way
‘I stopped believing in god.’
By Richie Richards
Native Sun News Today Correspondent

RAPID CITY – The death of 2 year-old Kylen Shangreaux sent shockwaves through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation which has brought national attention to the toddler’s community and family.

On March 30, 2018, Katrina Pauline Shangreaux pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the beating death of her son, Kylen.

Prior to his death in July, 2016, Angela Shangreaux had temporary custody of her nephew, Kylen, for 14 months. According to the paternal aunt, she provided her nephew a home filled with love and maternal connection.

For Shangreaux, she feels part of her frustrations over the news coverage received locally and nationally is that it makes her nephew, Kylen, a stereotype and a statistic.

“A lot of people think ‘Oh he’s just another abused and neglected Native American kid’. There’s so much more to his life. That wasn’t his life. That was the last fifty-eight days of life,” she said.

The weekend before he was returned to his mother, Kylen spent the weekend in Rapid City swimming at a motel. This is Kylen having breakfast during that trip. Photo courtesy Angela Shangreaux

According to his former-temporary guardian Angela, Kylen lived in a home with love and his days were filled with playing with her sons and watching cartoons.

“Kylen was a good boy. He liked Chicken Little, Home, Lego Batman 2 and Cars. He would get his blanket, he called it his “bank’t”, because he couldn’t say blanket. He would get his blanket and say, ‘I hold you me mama’,” she said of movie times in her home.

This tragedy has taken a toll on Angela’s life and health. Following Kylen’s death, she was unable to keep a job and soon sought a doctor’s help to deal with the mourning and subsequent panic attacks. It wasn’t until four weeks ago that she was able to go back to work.

“It took a toll on me emotionally. I literally just checked out. The thoughts of what he suffered that morning. The thoughts of what it was like the last fifty-eight days invaded my mind constantly. The fact that he cried for me when he was killing him,” said Shangreaux. According to court documents, Kylen was brutally beaten to death following a bed-wetting incident.

Some of her fondest memories with her “son” was the mornings. “He loved to eat waffles," Shangreaux said. "He would sit and drink coffee with me. He called it ‘foffee’."

In the first few days when Angela assumed temporary custody, she said he was quiet and withdrawn. Afte a few days, he realized his new home was a safe and fun place to be. He was allowed to be a two year old, she said.

During the nights with Angela, Kylen would often wake up with a wet diaper. “I used to get up when his diaper was wet, but I would let him sleep and clean it up,” she said.

Kylen’s mother admitted in court documents that she was drunk and high on medication on the night he was killed.

“The fact that she despised me really fueled her attacking Kylen. She didn’t like me. She saw the relationship that I had with him. She wanted that,” said Angela. “She’s a drug addict and alcoholic.”

Since the tragic death, Angela says she’s been reliving the nightmare over and over.

“My anxiety started out immediately; I was finding out that he was dead. It comes and goes in waves. It sometimes feels like I’m having a heart attack.”


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Following court on Friday, March 30, when Katrina Pauline Shangreaux pleaded guilty, Angela sought doctor’s treatment for the rush of emotions of seeing her nephew’s mother for this first time since he was killed.

“It broke me down. I felt like I was down on my knees crying and there she is walking by, cocky, smirking at us, flipping us off. That was just a stab to the heart,” she said. “I expected her to be crying. I expected her to be sorry. And there was no remorse.”

According to Angela, a prosecutor was sitting next to her and witnessed the inappropriate hand gesture as the mother exited the courtroom.

For Angela and her family, they hold on to the good memories to get through this ordeal. She says of the days leading up to him returning to his mother after fourteen months in her custody, “We had took him to Rapid City. We bought him some summer clothes and shoes and a wooden train. We got a motel room and took him swimming. He just enjoyed that. We took him to eat pancakes with whip cream and sprinkles on it.”

Three days after the trip to Rapid City, Kylen was placed back in the custody of his mother, Katrina. “We just hung outside and played. I knew they were coming to get him. I took lots of pictures," Angela said. "I didn’t know that was the last time I would see him. I was fearful for Kylen. I knew that she was abusive and I feared for his well-being,” she said of that last day with him.

Angela Shangreaux hopes to return to a life which includes spirituality.

“I stopped believing in god. I prayed to god for them not to take him and they took him," she said. "I prayed to god to return him to me and he was murdered. I lost my spirituality.”

Along with hoping for life in prison for Katrina Pauline Shangreaux, Angela would like to see “the other people involved in Kylen’s case face some sort of repercussions. I’ve seen other cases where CPS workers were charged with negligence.”

Lastly, she hopes the Oglala Sioux Tribe would enact “Kylen’s Law” in hopes that it would make courts and the Child Protection Services “to adhere to the law and focus on the best interests of the child.”

A sentencing date for Kylen’s mother has not been set at the time of the writing of this article.

Contact Native Sun News Today Correspondent Richie Richards at

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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