Family of boy killed in Mound says state didn't do enough to protect him 'They ignored us'
MOUND, Minn. (FOX 9) - Orono police arrested a 28-year-old woman on probable cause for murder in the death of a boy found dead in the trunk of car during a traffic stop in Mound Friday morning.
Orono police confirmed the woman, who was booked into the Hennepin County Jail early Saturday morning, had been arrested in connection with the case. Another suspect is also in custody and charges are still pending. Court documents indicate the female suspect is the child’s mother.
Family members identified the boy as 6-year-old Eli Hart. The family has started a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral costs.
Court documents show Eli Hart's father, Tory Hart, had been fighting for custody of his son. Tory Hart's fiancé, Josie Josephson, told FOX 9 the boy's mother struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues.
"No matter how many cries we cried, they ignored us. No matter how many warning signs there were," said Josephson.
Despite their repeated calls for help, Josephson says his biological mom was recently awarded full custody.
"That was it until last night when we got notified that he was found in the trunk of his mom’s car. Not only did we express concerns to multiple people, multiple times…every time the response was, ‘This is something for family courts.’ (CPS) said laws do not allow us to address this, unless (they) see physical abuse, (they) have no grounds to remove him from her home," said Josephson.
FOX 9 has reached out to CPS for a response.
On Friday, another suspect was arrested at a nearby apartment building. FOX 9 asked Josephson about this and she says neither she nor Tory have any idea who this could be.
According to an email sent Saturday by Westonka Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Borg, Hart was a kindergarten student at Shirley Hills Primary School in Mound.
"It is horrifying and difficult to process a tragedy of this magnitude, especially in our close-knit community. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who are grieving this profound loss," Borg wrote.
At 7 a.m. on Friday, Orono police responded to a 911 call about a suspicious vehicle driving on its rim with the back window smashed out. Police said they pulled over a silver car with a matching description on Bartlett Boulevard in Mound.
An officer noticed blood inside the car while speaking to the driver, searched the vehicle and found the body of a boy in the truck, according to Orono police.
Investigators determined that, earlier, the same car was at a Shell gas station on Three Points Boulevard., where they located evidence, police said. Police also searched an apartment complex off Interlachen Road and an area off of Red Oak Lane.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.