5-year-old boy thrown off Mall of America balcony by stranger returns home after five months in hospital: 'There is hard work ahead'
The boy, identified as Landen Hoffman of Woodbury, was discharged from hospital after completing inpatient treatment for the near 40ft fall five months ago.
A five-year-old boy, who was thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America in Minnesota, has reportedly returned home after five months of recovery. The boy, identified as Landen Hoffman of Woodbury, was discharged from hospital after completing inpatient treatment for the near 40ft fall five months ago.
Hoffman suffered extensive injuries, including a broken leg, and fractures to his face and skull, after 24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda attacked the boy at the mall randomly. The child reportedly underwent over 15 medical procedures and surgeries on his "very challenging road to recovery," according to the New York Post.
Meanwhile, Aranda was sentenced to 19 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in June this year to attempted premeditated murder. Aranda, at the time of the arrest, reportedly told police that he was "looking for someone to kill" after he had been rejected by women at the mall for years.
He claimed that the denials built up and caused him to "lash out and be aggressive," and that is when he attempted to kill the boy. The 24-year-old told the authorities that he had intended to kill an adult before he saw the boy standing on the third-floor balcony.
Hoffman's condition's update was posted on a GoFundMe page set up for him, and which read: "We are so thankful, and we rejoice in the Lord’s blessings to our family." The page reportedly raised over a million dollars in efforts to assist in paying for previous and ongoing treatment needed by the five-year-old. The treatment included having fluids drained from his lungs and stomach, and inserting a stent into his vein running through his liver.
"There is hard work ahead!" the statement on the page added. "Our beautiful boy has endured much already, but he is strong and his spirit remains vibrant."
Hoffman's family members reportedly called for Aranda to face maximum sentence during his court appearances. However, after his sentencing, they later said that they had forgiven him. Hoffman's mother, Kari, in statements read by Senior Assistant County Attorney Cheru Townsend, said the suspect would "take nothing" from the family.
"I refuse to be full of anger and hatred. I refuse to let you take my joy. My sweet precious baby, my amazing gift from God is going to be OK," the statement said. "You get to take nothing from us. You chose to listen to the devil that day. I don't get to judge you or hate you. Instead, I am full of God's love."
The boy's father stated religion as his reason for forgiving Aranda, however, he slammed his actions as "acts intended to kill and destroy."
"On what was to be a normal day for us of fun and playing, a day meant for good, you chose to commit a horrific, violent act. Holding hate only harms me and I will not allow that," he said in a note read by Townsend.
Meanwhile, Aranda's mother, Becky Aranda, stated that her son had struggled with mental health issues: "'I, myself, ask for forgiveness for my son and am hoping that the same God that she calls upon... will also show mercy for my son," KSTP-TV reported.