Charges: Woman locked son, 8, in cold garage, killing him

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota woman whose court records show a history of child neglect and violence has been charged with manslaughter after authorities say she locked her 8-year-old son in a cold garage overnight, leading to his death.

The Brooklyn Park woman was charged Monday in connection with the boy’s death in February 2018. The outside temperature at the time was in the negative single digits.

The cause of the boy’s death was initially listed as undetermined. There were no fresh signs of trauma, but the boy had scars on his back that indicated he had been hit with a belt or cord, along with other scars, according to court records. Toxicology tests showed elevated levels of glucose, consistent with hypothermia.

According to the criminal complaint, the mother called 911 on the morning of Feb. 1, 2018, to report her son was unresponsive. First responders noted his skin was “ice cold,” but he was not frozen. He had urinated in his pants and first responders saw a puddle of frozen liquid in the garage.

The woman told police her son had been sick since Jan. 31, but school officials said he seemed healthy. The woman later denied that the boy was locked in the garage. When police returned with a search warrant days later, the frozen liquid in the garage was gone.

After several months, the boy’s siblings shared information with a foster parent, and one sibling said her mother locked the boy in the garage and brought him inside the next morning.

The investigation into the boy’s death became public in June of 2018, when an 11-year-old girl ran away from the home. She was later found safe more than 20 miles away, but court records revealed that child protection services had been involved with the family for years following reports of abuse, violence and threats.

Since the boy’s death that February, two petitions for protection had been filed, including a request for emergency protection, yet the children were still living with their mother when the girl ran away.