Boy, 5, Out of Intensive Care Nearly Four Months After Being Thrown from Mall of America Balcony
The boy has undergone 15 medical procedures and surgeries
The gravely injured 5-year-old boy thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America at last has emerged from intensive care, nearly four months after the incident that led his adult attacker to be sentenced for attempted premeditated murder.
“We are happy to report that our son is no longer in intensive care and has been moved to an in-patient, physical rehab program at another hospital to help him continue to heal and focus on the next phase of his recovery,” his family posted Thursday to a GoFundMe page, where donors have pledged more than $1 million toward the boy’s care.
“There is hard work ahead!,” they wrote. “And, our beautiful boy has endured much already, but he is strong and his spirit remains vibrant. We continue to be eternally grateful for every prayer, every act of kindness and the love this world has show us throughout this journey.”
The child, identified by his family only by his first name, Landen, sustained severe head trauma and multiple broken bones in the April 12 attack at the mall in Bloomington, Minnesota. The incident was witnessed by his horrified mother and others as they stood near the balcony outside of the Rainforest Café on the mall’s third floor.
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Last month, the parents shared the full extent of the boy’s injuries for the first time.
“Up until now we have let our hopes govern what we have revealed to the public,” they wrote in a GoFundMe update. “However, the injuries and severe complications have now resulted in more than 15 separate medical procedures or surgeries, including surgeries for two broken arms and a broken leg, removal of his spleen, procedures for fluid in his lungs and stomach, as well as for facial and skull fractures; and just this past weekend, he had a stent placed in a vein that runs through his liver because of the serious complications he continues to endure.”
In June the boy’s parents confronted but forgave his attacker, 24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, via statements read in court by Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Cheri Townsend.
“On what was a normal day for us, a day of fun and playing, a day meant for good, you chose to commit a horrific violent act, an act intended … to kill and destroy,” the father wrote in his statement.
While writing “I wish you could experience the pain and suffering you inflicted on my boy,” the father added, in part: “I do want you to know that I forgive you, because it is what God calls me to do and holding hate only harms me.”
Authorities said Aranda admitted he knew that throwing the boy off the balcony could fatally injure the child. He averted a trial by pleading guilty.
Investigators said Aranda had gone to the mall “looking for someone to kill” and felt driven to aggression after being rejected by women he’d tried to speak with there, according to a criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE. Aranda told police he had first considered choosing to kill an adult at the mall the day before the incident “because they usually stand near the balcony,” but that did not “work out,” the complaint states.
The 19-year prison sentence he received was part of a plea agreement reached with prosecutors.
After the sentencing, Aranda’s mother, Becky Aranda, told reporters that her son had battled mental illness from the age of 3, according to Minneapolis TV station WCCO.
Aranda’s public defender told KSTP that Aranda accepted “full responsibility” for his actions.