6-Year-Old Child Found in Trunk During Traffic Stop, Mother Accused of Murder

Hennepin County Sheriff mugshot of Julissa Thaler
Hennepin County Sheriff

A Minnesota mother has been charged with the murder of her six-year-old son after authorities say she was found covered in blood during a traffic stop, and the child’s gunshot-ridden body was later located in her trunk. Shockingly, court documents assert police drove the woman home before the body was recovered, KMSP reports.

Citing a criminal complaint, the outlet said that on May 20, at around 7:00 a.m., Orona police initiated a traffic stop of a Chevrolet Impala driving around without a tire and with a smashed rear window. The driver of the vehicle, Julissa Thaler, 28, appeared to have blood on her hands, head, and clothing and allegedly told officers it was from a tampon, the outlet reported, referencing the latest documents filed regarding the murder investigation.

Police reportedly found “suspected body tissue” in the Impala, in addition to what looked to be a bullet hole and shell casings, KMSP wrote.

“The documents indicate that while officers were working to determine if the vehicle had been involved in another incident, Thaler grew impatient, cold and refused to sit in a squad,” WCCO reported. “Police released her from the scene and took her home.”

Soon after that, they discovered the body of her six-year-old son, Eli Hart, in the trunk, per the outlet. The complaint alleged the six-year-old sustained as many as nine gunshot wounds, according to KMPS.

Officers then went to Thaler’s residence and found the washing machine running with the clothes she wore earlier inside, but she was not present in the apartment, KMSP said, citing the criminal complaint. Police later apprehended Thaler after locating her walking nearby, and authorities said her hair allegedly contained a substance resembling brain matter.

Online inmate records show she is charged with second-degree murder with intent and is being held on $two million bail.

Brain matter and blood were allegedly recovered from multiple locations in the investigation, according to KMSP:

A witness saw Thaler’s vehicle at the Shell gas station on Three Points Boulevard not long before the traffic stop, the complaint said. Police searched the dumpsters at the gas station, finding a backpack, blood, bone and what looked like brain matter.

Police “followed damage done to the roads” by Thaler’s vehicle’s rim, as well as information from witnesses, leading officers to “multiple locations” where blood and brain matter were discarded, charges said. Police found a bloody child booster seat in a dumpster, noting the seat had sustained damage “consistent with a shotgun blast.”

Moreover, a friend, identified by the initials RP in the complaint allegedly told police that he or she went with Thaler to a shooting range after the 28-year-old expressed interest in learning how to fire a gun.

“Court documents say she would often carry a shotgun out of her apartment, wrapped in a gray blanket,” WCCO noted. “A gray blanket was also located in the trunk during the traffic stop.

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