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Family of Mall of America victim will not confirm pastor's comments on child's injuries

John Reinan, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS -- The family of the child thrown from a balcony at the Mall of America earlier this month would not confirm or deny a statement by a family pastor saying the boy showed "zero evidence" of any brain injury.

In a Tuesday conference call, the family's attorney, Stephen Tillitt, said he wasn't authorized to either confirm or deny comments made in a video posted on Facebook by Mac Hammond, pastor of the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, which Landen's grandparents attend.

"The family is in a position where any comment to confirm or deny would be intruding on the realm of the privacy they want," Tillitt said. "To start going into details of any kind, confirming or denying, means that the privacy has been intruded upon.

"This is a young child whose health is now becoming public, and the family realizes that what's public today will be public in 20 years."

The Living Word church posted a video this week on its Facebook page, recorded at an Easter Sunday service. In the video, Hammond said the boy's grandfather told him that an MRI of Landen showed "zero evidence of brain damage.

"Not just brain damage, there wasn't even any swelling in the brain," Hammond said the grandfather told him. "No spinal cord injury, no nerve damage, no internal injuries that were life-threatening."


According to Hammond's account, one of the attending physicians said, "This is truly a miracle. It's like he fell off a bicycle instead of off the third floor of the mall."

Tillitt clarified the bicycle remark, saying it referred to the boy's facial injuries, not to his overall condition. He said that as far as he knows, the family is not upset with Hammond for speaking publicly about Landen's condition.

Tillitt said Landen remains under sedation in intensive care, with further testing to come.

"We have an important week ahead with more milestones to accomplish," Tillitt said, reading from a statement by the family. "God's hand is working. Your prayers are working.


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