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Community gathers in Randolph to mourn 6-year-old Eli Hart's death

A vigil was held Saturday afternoon at the Randolph Elementary School football field.
Credit: Gordon Severson, KARE

RANDOLPH, Minnesota — A grieving community gathered on Saturday afternoon in Randolph to remember 6-year-old Eli Hart.

The vigil was held at the Randolph Elementary School football field where hundreds of people mourned the death of Eli, who was found dead in the trunk last week in Mound. Eli's mother has since been charged with second-degree murder.

Court documents showed Eli's mother had deteriorating mental health among other red flags that led child protective services to take the boy more than a year ago.

Social services recently recommended closing the case as Eli's father worked to get custody, and until then, his mother was the only caretaker.

"Eli was an amazing 6-year-old boy," Josie Josephson, Eli's father's fiancé, said during Saturday's vigil. "Eli loved to sit on his dad's shoulders. He wanted to do it all the time. There was an energy between them that you just knew they belonged together."

A separate gathering was held Friday night in Mound where Eli, who wanted to be a firefighter, was made an honorary firefighter by the Mound Fire Department with his very own helmet.

"He said it all the time," said Josephson. "He loved to see the fire trucks."

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