It’s not often you see campaigning for changes to the law in an obituary, but the murder-suicide in Orono this week, as heartbreaking a story as there is, provides the rarity in today’s Star Tribune.
Gina Summers killed her 5-year-old son, Jude Sandberg, then herself on Sunday or Monday.
She had apparently been feuding with her ex-husband since a two-day custody battle in 2015.
Today, the boy’s obituary appeared in the paper.
Jude Nicolas Sandberg
Sandberg, Jude Nicolas Age 5, of Minnetonka. Jude was a happy, energetic and outgoing little boy. He loved anything to do with cars. He loved fishing at the cabin and floor hockey with his dad and brother, Nico. He was very social and made many friends in his 5 short years.
His life was tragically cut short. The family wants to try and make good out of this senseless tragedy. To that end we will be working with senators and legislators to pass a new law, Jude’s law, in his name to require additional psychological testing in certain circumstances to prevent this from ever happening to another family.
Additionally the family wishes to create a scholarship in Jude’s name. We take comfort in knowing that Jude is with God in heaven, our little angel that will be so sorely missed by his daddy, brother, family and friends. I will meet you again in Heaven my little Ju Ju Bean.
Survived by, loving family, father Jeff Sandberg, brother Nicolas Sandberg, grandparents Dennis and Gloria Sandberg, aunt Joelle (Steve) Skarvan, uncle Steve (Sara) Sandberg, cousins Mae & Elsa Sandberg and Bill, Samantha & Ben Mennell, many other family and friends. Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 at 11 AM at St. Therese Catholic Church, 18323 Minnetonka Blvd., Deephaven (952-473-4422).
Visitation for one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. Private family interment. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred for a scholarship in Jude’s name. Huber Funeral & Cremation Services Excelsior Chapel 952-474-9595 huberfunerals.com
It’s not entirely clear how the law would be changed that would mandate psychological testing in custody cases. Current law allows for 72-hour confinement if someone is considered a danger to him/herself or someone else. Absent a stated threat, that would be a significant change in Minnesota law that lawmakers would consider. It’s not something to pass quickly in sympathy with a family.
But how would the law change? A statement from the family, obtained by KSTP, provides little in the way of detail.
“One week ago, Jeffry Sandberg was fishing in the Boundary Waters with his sons, 5-year old Jude and Nico Sandberg, and Grandpa Sandberg,” the statement read. “Today he is planning the funeral for Jude, murdered by his mother, Gina Summers, when he was getting ready for his first day of Ready Start Kindergarten. The storyline printed or broadcast so far needs to be clarified, as the case has been characterized as being a custody battle. That is inaccurate.
“Custody was determined following a two-day Trial in November, 2015. The mother, since the onset of the case in January, 2015 when she falsely accused the father of domestic abuse, never missed an opportunity to disrupt the established father-son relationship, both inside and outside of the Family Court paternity proceedings. Her actions and inactions, including her scheduling of multiple Motions before the Court, not only before but also after the Trial, and subsequently to the Court of Appeals, and her absolute refusal to participate in ordered mediation traumatized Father and his entire family over the last 2 1/2 years.
“Make no mistake, the Family Court recognized early on in the case the need for Father to play an integral part in Jude’s life – in order to serve his best interests – resulting in an award of joint legal and joint physical custody of Jude with equal parenting time; and the determination of September 1, 2017 that Jude would begin school on September 5, 2017.
“Mr. Sandberg intends to do what he can to ensure that Jude’s life was not wasted, by working with Legislators and the Courts to add to the current body of Family Law statutes, to require more comprehensive mental health testing when facts indicate such a need.
“The family and friends of Jude Sandberg are experiencing pain and grief beyond measure, and request privacy and space – and prayers – at this time.”