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Family of boy in Orono murder-suicide says it will pursue 'Jude's Law'

Reports say his parents had been in a long custody dispute.

The family of the 5-year-old Minnesota boy killed in a tragic murder-suicide this week is preparing to bury him – and pressing forward with a plan to make a new law in his name.

The development came as medical examiners identified the boy as Jude Summers-Sandberg, and his mother as 46-year-old Gina Summers.

Both died by hanging, according to autopsy results released Thursday. Summers is believed to have killed Jude before taking her own life. 

Police are still investigating, but multiple reports say the two estranged parents had been in a long custody dispute. 

Jude and his mom were found dead by police officers in their Orono home on Monday.

Jude's father had asked authorities to conduct a welfare check, because the boy apparently hadn't been returned to him per custody agreements.

According to the Star Tribune, Summers left a "suicide note lamenting her long-running court battle with the father" over parenting rights. 

A family's cause

Now, the family says it 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," Jude's obituary reads.

Meanwhile, a statement from the father's lawyer to KSTP on Wednesday says Summers "never missed an opportunity to disrupt the established father-son relationship, both inside and outside of the family court paternity proceedings."

The statement also called for changes "to the current body of family lawstatutes, to require more comprehensive mental health testing when facts indicate such a need."

But as MPR News writer Bob Collins points out, it’s not yet "entirely clear how the law would be changed that would mandate psychological testing in custody cases." 

Jude's funeral Mass will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Therese Catholic Church in Deephaven, with a visitation an hour prior to the service, the obituary says. 

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