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The Spring Park woman accused of killing her 6-year-old son and stuffing his body in the trunk of her car appeared in court for the first time Tuesday, but her lawyer said she wanted to obtain the woman's mental health records before requesting a change in bail.

Julissa Thaler, 28, remained jailed in lieu of $2 million bail. She has been charged with second-degree murder in the shotgun slaying of her son, Eli Hart, last week.

Medical records reviewed by the Star Tribune show Thaler was in and out of mental institutions from the ages of 13 to 18. She repeatedly was treated for drug and alcohol abuse, and ran away from home in her last year of high school, living on the street for 45 days.

Thaler lost custody of Eli for most of last year after the Dakota County Social Services Department received a report in January 2021 that she was "presenting with psychosis and hearing voices telling her to kill herself," court records show.

It was the second time Thaler lost custody of her son. In October 2020, authorities temporarily placed Eli in foster care after social workers visited Thaler's home and found her son naked with nothing to wear in the house but pajamas. Workers said the house was filthy and noted a "flooded upper floor bathroom" and "eggs broken and smeared throughout the main level."

Eli remained in foster care through December 2021, when a judge allowed Thaler to take him home on a trial basis.

Thaler received full custody of the boy on May 10, despite testimony from family members who told court officials they were afraid Thaler was a danger to Eli. At the time of his death, his father, Tory Hart, was pursuing a separate case to win custody.

Court records show that Dakota County District Judge Tim Wermager awarded custody to Thaler despite recent concerns about her fitness expressed by a court-appointed guardian and a county social worker who met frequently with Thaler, her son and other family members.

In a report May 4, guardian Sherri Larson said she was "very concerned about Ms. Thaler's mental health." She noted that Thaler was trying to limit contact between the boy and his father even though Hart "appears to be a stabilizing force in Eli's life."

Larson nevertheless recommended that custody of Eli be returned to Thaler, court records show. Larson did not return calls Tuesday.

County social worker Beth Dehner also recommended that Thaler be awarded full custody despite misgivings. In a May 4 monthly report to the court, Dehner said Thaler had not attended weekly therapy sessions for months and "lacks insight into her own mental health and behavior."

Dehner said Thaler also had been neglecting the medical needs of Eli, who had a rare genetic disorder called Townes-Brocks syndrome, which led to kidney disease and hearing problems. She said Thaler failed to make sure her son's hearing aids were in working order and that she often brought him to school late.

Still, Dehner said in the report, "There is no current indication that her son is physically unsafe in her care."

Dehner did not return calls Tuesday.

Family members said they blame the county Social Services Department for not protecting the child. Attorney Josh Tuchscherer of Minneapolis acknowledged Tuesday that Hart has hired him to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Social workers and county officials who oversaw the case have declined to answer questions. "Our deepest sympathy goes out to family and friends impacted by this tragic loss," a Dakota County spokesperson said in a statement Monday. "Due to privacy laws we cannot comment further."

Police said Thaler bought the shotgun she allegedly used to kill Eli on March 17, six days after the boy's father filed a petition seeking custody of his son. A hearing on that petition was scheduled for June 21.

During her court appearance Tuesday, Thaler, rocking in her chair, told her attorney that she wanted the judge to be aware of the findings of a "rape kit." The attorney, public defender Shauna Kieffer, acknowledged that those results were pending but there was no further discussion of the matter in court.