Lifestyle & Human Interest

Age 5 Boy Thrown from Balcony at Mall of America Says Angels Caught Him, Jesus Loves Him


There are few things as revolting as people who hurt or abuse animals or children on purpose. Aggressors who attack the most vulnerable and innocent beings are some of the lowest individuals humanity has to offer.

The horrifying case of cruelty toward Landen Hoffman has shocked people around the world — but his recovery has given people hope.

Despite the brutal attack that left the 5-year-old severely injured and could have easily claimed his life, Landen is improving daily.

The boy is described by family friend Noah Hanneman as “the sweetest kindest 5 year old you will ever meet.” Hanneman, whose wife is a long-time friend of Landen’s mother, created a GoFundMe for the Hoffman family after the incident on April 12.

“His soul is soft and gentle and instantly brings a smile to everybody he meets,” Hanneman wrote of Landen. “He is full of energy and life and enjoys soccer, playing with friends and family and playing hockey with his brother and sister.

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“He was enjoying a day at the Mall of America with his mom and friend on Friday morning when a stranger maliciously grabbed him and threw him over the 3rd floor balcony for no apparent reason. The family doesn’t know him and are completely clueless as to why this monster would target their family with this heinous act of violence.”

Emmanuel Aranda later admitted he’d been at the mall, “looking for someone to kill,” according to AZ Central. In June, the 24-year-old was sentenced to 19-years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted premeditated first-degree murder.

Months of recovery, surgeries and physical therapy later, Landen is doing better than ever — thanks to a dedicated team of medical professionals, prayer warriors, supportive friends and family and generous donors.

The GoFundMe has raised over $1 million, and the family keeps people updated through the GoFundMe and the private Facebook group “Prayers for Landen.”

In a recent update from Nov. 22, Hanneman shared some of the family’s words about the milestones Landen has hit recently since he came home from the hospital in August.

“He came home with a limp and uneven legs from a two-time broken femur, an open wound on his belly we were taking care of every night, and many follow up appointments and medications,” the update reads. “Since then he has had many physical therapies to work on his walking. Mom has been doing everything she can to speed up the healing of his wound and working toward getting off some of his medications.”

“He is now walking PERFECTLY with even legs AMEN. The wound has finally scabbed over and new skin is growing, and we are still optimistic he will be off some of his medications soon.”

Landen also has a very unique perspective on his whole incident, and seems to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. When his mom asks how he is, he tells her “Mom, I’m healed, you don’t need to ask me anymore.”

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He’s also clear on how he survived the nearly 40-foot fall that could have killed him.

“Landen loves life and Jesus!” the Nov. 22 update continued. “He tells people all the time when they get hurt, don’t worry, I fell off a cliff, but Angels caught me and Jesus loves me, so I’m ok and you will be too!”

While there are many more check-ups in Landen’s future, he is doing well and reportedly enjoys all the mail and prayers he gets from kind supporters.

“His whole family feels the love and are so grateful for the prayers and people like you who care so much about others!” the update concluded. “There was one bad person, but from that came millions of Good people!”

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