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Family of boy thrown from third-floor Mall of America balcony reaches settlement with the mall, attorneys say

<i>Jim Mone/AP/file</i><br/>More than three years after a boy was thrown over a balcony at the Mall of America in Minnesota
Jim Mone/AP/file
More than three years after a boy was thrown over a balcony at the Mall of America in Minnesota

By Andi Babineau and Raja Razek, CNN

More than three years after a boy was thrown over a balcony at the Mall of America in Minnesota, the child’s family has reached a settlement with the mall, the family’s attorneys said.

The 5-year-old, publicly identified only as Landen, was standing with his mother outside the third-floor Rain Forest Café on April 12, 2019, when a man approached the pair, picked up the boy and threw him over the railing, according to a criminal complaint.

Landen fell about 40 feet to the first level. He suffered extensive injuries which left him in critical condition and required months of hospitalization, several surgeries and extensive physical rehabilitation therapy, his family has said.

Emmanuel Aranda, 28, confessed to throwing the child and pleaded guilty in 2019 to attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the attack. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Aranda told police he had come to the mall a day earlier intending to kill an adult, but that did not “work out,” according to the complaint, so he returned the next day and attacked the boy instead.

The child’s family filed a lawsuit against the Mall of America last year, accusing it of negligence and seeking damages for medical costs, future medical costs, pain and suffering, future income loss and mental anguish and distress. The suit claimed Landen’s medical bills were more than $1.75 million.

The family and the mall reached a “confidential settlement” of the suit, and the two parties agreed to make changes to the mall’s trespass policies to limit the entrance of “violent criminals,” a statement from the family’s attorneys, Briol & Benson, PLLC, said. The family asked that any policy changes be named in honor of the child.

“The boy’s recovery has been nothing short of miraculous and the focus remains on his health and wellbeing, which includes privacy during this time,” the attorney statement said.

After being released from the hospital in 2019, Landen happily returned to school with his sister and twin brother, his family said.

“He gets out of the car every morning happy and blows kisses all the way in! He’s a strong, happy boy. When his mommy asks him if she can look at his wound or asks how he’s doing, he always responds with ‘Mom, I’m healed, you don’t need to ask me anymore,'” the family said in a post on a family-run GoFundMe account.

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CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe, Kara Devlin, Ralph Ellis, Melissa Alonso and Jay Croft contributed to this report.

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