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Minnesota mother accused of drowning child because she could not enjoy her bath

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A Lino Lakes, Minnesota mother faces murder charges after allegedly drowning her child in a bathtub then throwing the child’s body into a dumpster at a hotel, according to court records.

Esperanza Rae Harding, 20, has been charged with second-degree murder and murder in Hennepin County for the death of her child, though authorities have not located the body nor indicated how old the child was.

Court records allege that on March 6, 2024, officers with the Minneapolis Police Department responded to reports of a missing child call at the Children’s Hospital.

When officers arrived, they spoke with Harding, who claimed her child died of natural causes in the hospital on March 1.

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Esperanza Rae Harding allegedly drowned her child on Feb. 28, 2024, in a hotel bath tub. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

Hospital officials told police there was no record of the child being admitted or dying at the hospital, and the Medical Examiner’s Office did not have record of the victim, court documents allege.

Police said Harding eventually admitted that her child died at a hotel in Bloomington on Feb. 28, 2024, not at the hospital.

She allegedly said her child died in the bathtub, and afterward, she wrapped the body up and threw it in a dumpster.

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Edwin Trudeau mugshots

Edwin Trudeau allegedly helped Esperanza Ray Harding get rid of a child’s body after she allegedly drowned the child in a hotel bathroom on Feb. 28, 2024. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

Bloomington police officers also interviewed Harding after being brought into the case because of the location of the crime.

During the interview, police claim, Harding told investigators she was dating 18-year-old Edwin Trudeau, who did not like the child, telling her to put the child up for adoption.

Harding told officers Trudeau wanted her to put the child up for adoption to prove he was her top priority, not the child, court documents allege.

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Hennepin County Government Center entrance

Snow is removed from the entrance of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa, File)

On Feb. 28, Harding was alone in a hotel room in Bloomington and taking a bath when her child, who was in the other room, started crying.

Harding told police she became upset because she was unable to enjoy the bath. So, she went into the other room, picked up the child and drowned the child in the bathtub.

She then took a picture of the child floating face down in the tub, police said, which has since been recovered from her phone.

Harding allegedly texted with Trudeau during the incident, and police said the texts have since been recovered.

During the texts, Harding allegedly told Trudeau she was about to do something bad, adding her child would not be there much longer.

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A little bit later, she allegedly told Trudeau her child was going to die, then two minutes later, she said her child was dead.

Police said Harding sent additional texts in which she referred to herself as “a monster” for what she did, while also asking Trudeau how to get away with the crime.

Trudeau went to the hotel room once the child was dead, Harding told investigators, and after failing to resuscitate the child with CPR, the two had sex in the other room while the child’s motionless body was on the floor of the bathroom.

Afterward, she allegedly told investigators, Harding wrapped the child up, placed the body in a backpack and threw the child into a dumpster at the hotel.

The body has yet to be recovered.

Harding also allegedly told investigators Trudeau kept telling her to keep her mouth shut and that they had to get out of the situation.

“If you go down, I go down, no matter what,” Trudeau allegedly told Harding. “It is always going to be us, Bonnie and Clyde.”

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Trudeau was charged with murder and aiding an offender after the fact.

Harding and Trudeau have both been booked into the Hennepin County Jail. Harding is being held on $1,500,000 bond, while Trudeau is being held on $500,000 bond.

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