ORONO, Minn. - A note found near a mother who allegedly hung her 5-year-old son before killing herself spoke of domestic abuse and a legal system that allows a child to be "ripped from his mother."
That was just one detail revealed in a search warrant filed on the home of 47-year-old Gina Summers after her body and that of her young son were discovered hanging from a weightlifting rack in the basement of their Orono residence Monday. Orono Police say around 4:10 p.m. that day officers were dispatched to a home on the 2200 block of Bayview Place on a welfare check of a child who was supposed to be dropped off with his father.
No one answered at the time, so the boy's father said he would track down more information. Hours later, around 8 p.m., officers returned to the home and were met by a family member who let them into the house.
Officers entered the home and found both the mother and child hanging back to back from a squat rack used for weight lifting. The suicide note believed left by Summers ended by stating, "Don't let this happen to another child and mother." The suicide note was typed and then signed by hand at the end.
The boy was identified as 5-year-old Jude Sandberg by the attorney for his father, Jeffry Sandberg. In a statement Attorney Kathryn Engman refutes earlier reports that referred to a custody battle between the two, saying Sandberg had been awarded joint physical custody of his son. In her statement Engman also calls any allegations of abuse against Jeffry Sandberg false, and alleges that Summers repeatedly attempted to disrupt the relationship between her client and his son.
Besides the reported suicide note, investigators also found documents in a computer room in the southeast corner of the basement and observed several documents printed out which included bank statements, court documents, e-mails and mental health documents. Officers had also located some white rope lying in a crib close to where Summers and her son were found.
The search warrant said police were looking for Summers' cell phone, handwritten documents or journals and access to video from a surveillance system installed on the property.