ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Florida mother faces a child abuse charge after forcing her son to jump out of a second floor window of their home.
Early Thursday morning, St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD) officers responded to a call and arrived at the home of Michelle Vail. According to authorities, Vail, 32, said she was armed and that a former boyfriend was standing outside her door and she was fearful that he was going to kill her.
Armed with a shotgun, Vail refused to open the door for officers, who said she appeared distraught and seemed mentally unstable, according to SPPD spokesman Maj. Mike Puetz.
Officers reported that they could hear the screams of a child inside the apartment and that Vail's 7-year-old son jumped out the second floor window to the ground below as his mother did the same in a suicide attempt just as SPPD officers forced their way in the front door.
It was revealed to detectives in an interview with Vail’s son that she had told him that a serial killer was coming to get them and he needed to jump out the window, which he did at her urging. Detectives also learned that Vail and her son had just relocated to St. Petersburg from Ormond Beach, Florida prior to the incident.
Puetz said that both Vail and her son were taken to an area hospital following the incident. Michelle Vail's injuries appear to be superficial while her son is being admitted at All Children's Hospital for further observation.
There are no indications of serious injury on her part at this time, though Puetz said a mental evaluation will be done to determine if Vail does suffer from mental illness.
Vail is being charged with one count of aggravated child abuse and will spend time in court in the near future, authorities confirm. The Florida Department of Children and Families has been contacted to facilitate custody of the child upon his release from the hospital.