The Charlotte Observer
A Minnesota mother is in custody after police found the body of her 6-year-old son in the trunk of a blood-splattered car, news outlets report.
Despite concerns from social workers about Julissa Thaler’s mental health and criminal history, the 28-year-old was recently granted full custody of her son, Eli, WCCO reported.
Thaler was arrested Friday, May 20, in connection with the boy’s death, according to the outlet. An unidentified man was also arrested.
Police in Orono, about 18 miles west of Minneapolis, pulled over a woman driving a silver sedan matching the description of a suspicious vehicle, KSTP reported. The car was traveling on the rim of one of its wheels, and the back window appeared to have been smashed.
An officer saw the interior was stained with blood. Police searched the car and found the boy’s body in the trunk, the outlet reported. He had been shot as many as nine times, according to a criminal complaint.
There was blood and bits of brain matter in Thaler’s hair when she was arrested, KSTP reported.
“We have information that it’s domestic-related,” Orono Police Chief Corry Farinok, told the TV station. “We believe she’s involved.”
Though investigators have not named the suspects, the car was Thaler’s, according to The Associated Press.
Eli’s father had been fighting for custody of the boy, but full custody was given to Thaler in December, the outlet reported.
The unidentified man arrested by police allegedly took Thaler to a shooting range to teach her how to use a gun, shortly before Eli was found dead, the Star Tribune reported.
Investigators backtracked Thaler’s car to several locations, including a gas station in Mound, where they uncovered more evidence, including a bloody booster seat that appeared to have been shot with a shotgun, then thrown in a dumpster, the newspaper reported.
A shotgun was found in the trunk by Eli’s body, according to the outlet, and a shotgun shell and empty casing were in the passenger compartment.