Minnesota mom charged with killing son; body found in trunk

MINNEAPOLIS — A woman has been charged with murder after a boy was found dead in the trunk of her vehicle in Mound last week. Julissa Angelica Genrich Thaler, 28, is charged with second-degree intentional murder of the boy, who family members have identified as 6-year-old Eli Hart. According to Hubbard Broadcasting’s KSTP, family members also said Thaler is Hart’s mother.

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.

Mound police stopped Thaler’s vehicle Friday morning after she was spotted driving it with one of the front tires missing, and was riding straight on the rim. A criminal complaint states officers saw blood on Thaler, noticed a shotgun shell and spent casing in the vehicle and saw a bullet hole in the back seat, as well as a broken-out back window.

However, officers released Thaler from the scene and then searched the vehicle. That’s when they found Hart in the trunk, along with a shotgun.

The complaint states that officers immediately went to Thaler’s apartment after finding Hart, but she’d already left and was washing the clothes she’d been wearing. She was arrested nearby and had apparent blood and brain matter in her hair, authorities noted.

Tips from citizens also led police to a nearby gas station dumpster, where officers found a backpack and more evidence of the boy’s death, according to the complaint.

A friend of Thaler’s told police that Thaler had wanted to learn how to use a gun over the past week, so they’d gone to the gun range.

Eli had been 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.

Police said a man was also arrested but no formal charges have been filed at this time.

A GoFundMe has been started for Hart’s family.