Stabbing leads to attempted murder charge

by Tom Coombe
An attempted murder charge has been filed against a 16-year-old Ely boy who allegedly stabbed his brother more than a dozen times.
Ely police identified the suspect at Michael William Haapala, and St. Louis County prosecutor wants to try him as an adult in connection with the Oct. 8 incident near Miners Lake.
The victim, a 13-year-old male, was taken by helicopter to Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth after suffering multiple stab wounds. He remains in stable condition.
Haapala is being held at Arrowhead Juvenile Center in Duluth.
Court records and a news release issued by the Ely Police Department offered further details about the incident.
According to the reports, a 911 caller reported finding “an individual who appeared to have fallen down a ravine near Miners Lake. The caller reported the patient had a leg injury.’
Police found the victim “curled up in a fetal position in a gully” and cold to the touch.
The victim was reported to be conscious but confused and medical assistance was called.
Responders observed additional injuries that were consistent with stab wound
The victim was able to tell personnel on scene that he was assaulted and indicated that his older brother “tried to kill him.”
Police would later visit the victim at the hospital, where nurses indicated that he was not able to speak but could communicate by pointing at words or letters to spell words.
The victim implicated his older brother in the stabbing, authorities say.
Medical records reportedly showed that the victim was stabbed at least 13 times, including twice in the neck, five times in the leg, as well as additional wounds in the arms, chest and hands. He required surgery for the injuries.
Police apprehended the suspect shortly after the incident, locating him at his residence and taking him into custody without incident.
A search of the home located a large kitchen knife that appeared to be recently washed, as well as tennis shoes with what appeared to be blood.
Police say they questioned the suspect, who reportedly admitted to going on a walk with his younger brother, and that he brought a knife and stabbed him “more than one time.”
The suspect, according to police, told officers he dragged his brother to the lake, where he believed he would “bleed out.”
The suspect is set to be arraigned Oct. 20 in Virginia, with the county seeking adult certification, which is allowed for felony offenses committed by those between ages 15-17.
The Ely Police Department was assisted by the Babbitt Police Department, St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department, Lake County Sheriff’s Department, MN DNR Enforcement Division. Ely Fire Department/First Responders and the Ely Area Ambulance Service.