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‘Each new day is a good day:’ PO box set up for 5-year-old boy thrown from balcony at Mall of America

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Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — A post office box has been set up for those who would like to send well wishes to a 5-year-old boy who was thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America on Friday, April 12 — and critically wounded.

The following update was posted Wednesday, April 17 on a page set up to raise money for the boy’s medical expenses:

“The power of prayer is simply amazing. We all have been extremely humbled by the outpouring of support and prayers from everyone one. Thank you for showing us there is so much good not only in our community but across the globe. Condition is again similar to previous days, another peaceful night of sleep – small steps towards the healing process. Each new day is a good day. Landen’s recovery is expected to be ongoing for a long time, while it’s hard to estimate costs, this will change everything for their family and require much of their time and focus. Many people continue to want to offer support and have asked me to raise the goal amount again, so I’ll continue doing so. We have set up a mailing address for those of you who are wishing to send cards and get well wishes to Landen and his family. Please send them to:

Prayers for Landen
PO Box 43516
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443-4200

There is also a photo circulating around of a mother in a surgical mask next to a boy in a hospital bed. This is not a picture of Landen or his mother. We will not be releasing any photos during the recovery process. The family is still seeking as much privacy as possible – please be respectful of their wishes as they travel a road none of us would ever want to have to walk. Please continue to pray for Landen and God bless. Help spread the word!”

More than $800,000 had been raised as of Wednesday evening.

Emmanuel Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, accused of throwing the boy from the balcony said little Tuesday, April 16 during his first court appearance, but appeared lucid and followed the court’s directions.

Aranda is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder. The child plunged almost 40 feet and is fighting for his life in a Minneapolis hospital with head trauma and multiple broken bones.

Police said Aranda told them he went to the mall “looking for someone to kill” and chose the boy at random.

Aranda appeared behind a glass partition Tuesday in a courtroom at the Hennepin County jail. He spelled his name and gave his birthdate and address, noting that he had been at a shelter. When asked by the judge whether he had any questions, he said, “Not at all.”

Aranda’s bail was kept at $2 million and an omnibus hearing was set for May 14.

Aranda has two past convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, and was banned from the mall at one point. Court records show that Aranda had been ordered to undergo psychological evaluation or treatment after those assaults.

Paul Sellers, the public defender appointed to represent Aranda, said his client has been in mental health court before. He urged the Legislature and those who are calling for aggressive retribution to focus on mental health issues.

“You wonder whether things could be prevented if we spent more on mental health treatment on the front end and mental health options on the front end, instead of always just waiting for bad things to happen and seeking retributive justice,” Sellers said after Tuesday’s hearing.

Sellers said he’s not at liberty to talk about specifics of the case, but noted that he hasn’t requested evaluations of his client’s mental competence. He said once he gets the state’s evidence, he’ll work toward the best outcome.

Stephen Tillitt, an attorney representing the victim’s family, told reporters the child remains in critical condition. He wasn’t authorized to provide specifics but said the boy is beginning a long journey to recovery.

“I’ve heard it said that every new day is a good day, and, so this is a good day,” Tillitt said.

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