Woman charged with murder of 6-year-old son who was found dead in trunk in Mound

Updated: 2:55 p.m.

A 28-year-old suburban Twin Cities woman faces a charge of second-degree murder after allegedly fatally shooting her 6-year-old son last week and then hiding his body in the trunk of a vehicle.

A criminal complaint filed Monday in Hennepin County District Court alleges Julissa Thaler of Spring Park shot the boy as many as nine times. The complaint says police officers found the boy's body on Friday, after they stopped Thaler in Mound for driving a vehicle without one of its front tires.

KARE-TV reports family members identified the boy as 6-year-old Eli Hart, and said he had been the subject of an ongoing custody dispute between his parents.

Thaler remained in custody Monday afternoon on $2 million bail, with an initial court appearance set for Tuesday afternoon.

According to the complaint, police officers stopped a driver, identified as Thaler, on Friday in Mound after her vehicle was seen driving on one of its rims.

The officers noticed the car's back window was broken, and saw blood on Thaler's hand.

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"Officers also observed a shotgun shell as well as a spent casing in the vehicle," the complaint states. "Officers also observed blood in the vehicle and what appeared to be a bullet hole in the back seat."

At some point, Thaler was released from the scene. After that, but before the car was towed, officers searched the vehicle and found the boy's body and a shotgun in the trunk.

Police then went to Thaler's apartment, found her leaving the area on foot, and arrested her.

Using tips from the public — and by following damage on roadways left by the car traveling on its rim — investigators found several other locations with blood and items that appeared to have been discarded, including a backpack and a blood-covered child booster seat.

The complaint also states that a friend of Thaler's told police she had bought a shotgun earlier this year, and sought help in learning how to use it.

KARE-TV reported that a man also was arrested after the boy's body was found, but had not been charged as of Monday afternoon.

Correction (May 23, 2022): An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the community where the vehicle was stopped, and where the boy's body was found.