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Minnesota mom charged with killing son; body found in trunk

May 23, 2022 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A mother was charged Monday in the death of her 6-year-old son whose body was found in the trunk of her bloodied car in a Minneapolis suburb last week.

Julissa Thaler, 28, of Spring Park, is charged with second-degree intentional murder in the death of Eli Hart. Court records do not list an attorney who could speak on her behalf.

Family members said that the boy’s father, Tory Hart, of Chetek, Wisconsin, was trying to win custody of his child when Eli was killed.

According to a criminal complaint, preliminary autopsy findings say the child was shot up to nine times.

Police said they found the boy’s body after pulling Thaler over in Mound on Friday. They had received a call about a car driving on a tire rim with the back window smashed out.

The complaint said Thaler left the traffic stop before officers opened the trunk. Police went to her apartment, but Thaler wasn’t there. The washing machine was running, and it contained clothes she had on during the traffic stop, according to the charging document.

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Officers caught up with Thaler nearby and noticed that she had blood and other biological evidence in her hair, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Eli was placed back with his mother in December after spending nearly a year in foster care because she failed to properly care for him, records showed.

Family members said the child’s behavior changed after his mom regained custody and he started misbehaving in school and showing signs of anxiety.

Thaler remained jailed on $2 million bail ahead of a court appearance on Tuesday.

A 27-year-old Minneapolis man has been arrested and remains jailed on suspicion of murder. Monday’s charges say Thaler and the man went to a gun range so she could learn how to use a firearm.