A Minnesota mother of five was reportedly beaten to death by her attorney ex-husband while holding their three-year-old child in her arms during a custody exchange.
Thirty-one-year-old Anders Odegaard has been charged with second-degree murder in the murder of his ex-wife Carissa, also 31.
Authorities in Warren responded to Odegaard’s home around 5 p.m. on Tuesday after his nine-year-old son warned a motorist about the attack. Mrs. Odegaard had arrived at the house to pick up her five children and take them to church Daily mail reported.
Mr Odegaard then reportedly refused to let the children leave and began to choke and beat his ex-wife until she lost consciousness. The two eldest Odegaard children witnessed the attack while their mother held their little brother in her arms.
When authorities arrived on the scene, they reportedly found Mr Odegaard covered in blood and wearing only underwear.
Ms Odegaard was found seriously injured and was transported to Sanford Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, where she later died. The couple had filed for divorce in 2021 citing “irreparable disruption”, after 10 years of marriage.
Odegaard was arrested and his bail was set at $2.5 million. TSWT news reported.
According to the police, his eldest son sought help from a motorist who then alerted the police. Two other children, six and four, were in Mrs. Odegaard’s car
“[The motorist] spoke to the older of the two boys who said that his mother in the house was very bleeding on the floor. The boy said he thinks she’s dead,” the police said Mail is reading.
“He asked the boy who was in the house and he said his father was in with his mother.”
The eldest children told the police that Mr. Odegaard had hit their mother on the head with a knife and that he was later “on top of [their mother] suffocate her,” TSWT reported. When they tapped Mrs. Odegaard’s foot, she didn’t move.
Odegaard is said to have told police that he “didn’t feel well” when questioned about what had happened. His three-year-old did not answer questions from officers.
“The toddler wouldn’t say anything. He did see what happened because his mother was holding him at the time of the assault,” the police report said.
Mr. Odegaard briefly served as a Mercer County State Attorney in North Dakota in 2021. He continued to work as a public offender in North Dakota before moving to Minnesota.
According to a friend of Ms Odegaard, she had decided to file for divorce in 2020 due to emotional abuse.
According to TSWT, Ms. Odegaard had physical custody of the children, but Mr. Odegaard was also allowed to spend time with them.
Ms. Odegaard, who ran a photography business, was fondly remembered by family and community members who described her as a devoted mother.
“After leaving her ex-husband, I watched her build a wonderful life for her and her children, investing herself in all their needs. She was so elegant with each of their personalities and gave them all the tools to succeed while encouraging each of them in their interest,” her sister, Anna Woinarowicz said. Inforum.
The family has set up a GoFundMe to cover funeral expenses. More than $33,000 has been raised.