Charges: Man fatally stabs 14-year-old stepson who was saving his mother

The Austin Police Department is calling the teenager a hero.
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A 14-year-old boy was killed in a stabbing while trying to save his mother from her husband, charges say. 

Jamie A. Vaca, 27, was charged Wednesday in Mower County District Court with two counts of second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, and first-degree assault in connection to the Dec. 15 stabbing that killed his teenage stepson and injured his 35-year-old wife. 

The victims have not been identified.   

In a Facebook post after the stabbing, Austin Police Chief David McKichan said responding to the stabbing was "one of the most challenging and tragic calls I can remember in our city's history" for the department.

When officers responded, they found a "scene in which they needed to provide immediate medical aid to two victims for severe wounds, secure a suspect using non-lethal means if possible, and protect any yet unharmed individuals in the home (all five of whom were children," the post said. 

The chief added: 

"There were other heroes already in that house yesterday before we arrived. Despite everyone’s best efforts, we were unable to save the young man who acted the most heroically of anyone yesterday. All of us wanted a different outcome for him. What he did in the defense of his family was incredible and should be recognized. His love for his mother and his siblings was proven without a doubt and all who responded and have knowledge of the investigation were moved by his actions. He saved their lives. I hope in time and with the family involved, that we can recognize him for what he did."

According to the criminal complaint, police responded to the home at 808 3rd Ave. NW at about 8:50 a.m. on Dec. 15, where they found a woman, later identified as the mother, lying in the front yard and covered in blood, she was bleeding "profusely" from a stab wound to her neck."

She told officers that her son had also been stabbed and was inside the home, indicating Vaca – her husband – stabbed her with a gray folding knife and was still inside the home, charges say. 

The mother was flown to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester where she had extensive surgery, the complaint says.

Inside the home, officers found "copious" amounts of blood on the floor and found the 14-year-old boy on the couch, covered in blood and struggling to breathe. He died of his injuries at the hospital, charges state. 

Police located Vaca, who was holding a knife, in the bathroom, with officers using a Taser to disarm him. He was taken the hospital to be treated for minor wounds and then booked into jail. 

The children found inside the home said Vaca did the stabbing, saying he was fighting with their mom in their bedroom. One of the kids went to get the 14-year-old boy to help. He kicked open the locked bedroom door and intervened to stop Vaca from choking his mom. That's when Vaca stood up and grabbed a knife. 

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The altercation moved into the living room, where Vaca stabbed the boy, charges say. 

During an interview with police, Vaca said he and his wife were arguing about his new job, eventually choking her, and then he "blacked out," charges state. He said he began to stab his wife and when his stepson tried to stop the altercation, he stabbed him too. 

He then went upstairs to say goodbye to his other children because he was going to kill himself, the complaint says. 

When investigators told Vaca that his stepson died, he said "I'm a murderer" and put his head down. 

During a search of the home, investigators found two knives – a 3-4 inches long folding knife and a kitchen knife with a white handle. 

If you know anyone who is affected by domestic violence, you can find more information on services available here, via the Minnesota DPS.

You can also call the Day One Crisis Hotline at 1-866-223-1111.

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