AMBER Alert father charged with attempted murder of 2 sons

Jay Anthony Ernst, 27, of Lakeville, Minn. is being charged with two counts of first degree attempted murder. 

A Lakeville, Minn. man is being charged with attempted murder after trying to commit suicide by carbon monoxide with his two young sons in the car. 

Police were called to a house in Lakeville after a family member found Jay Ernst, 27, and his boys, ages 2 and 4, sitting inside of a running car in a closed garage. A hose was connected to the exhaust pipe and routed inside of the car.

Ernst fled before police arrived, triggering an AMBER Alert just before 4:30 a.m. Thursday. The alert was canceled just after 5 a.m. when police stopped Ernst’s car at the bottom of the County Road 42 ramp from Interstate 35.

Family members told police Ernst had made several vague suicidal statements to family members in the past.

Ernst was staying with a family member at the time of the incident. The family member told police Ernst had been under a lot of stress recently because his marriage was ending and he was struggling with addiction. She said Ernst had “reached his breaking point.”

The father denied that he wanted to harm himself or put his children’s lives in jeopardy, however, journal entries found on his phone indicted he may have been planning to end his and the children’s lives. He claimed the whole scenario was his way of crying out for help to address his addiction issues, according to the criminal complaint.

Ernst is being charged with two counts of first degree attempted murder.  

Help is available

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255. The hotline has trained staff available 24/7 to help those in crisis. Everyone can play a role in preventing suicide by being aware of the warning signs of suicidal behaviors:

- Talking about wanting to die; feeling hopeless, trapped, or in unbearable pain, being a burden to others

- Looking for a way to kill oneself

- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

- Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless

- Sleeping too little or too much

- Withdrawing or feeling isolated

- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

- Displaying extreme mood swings.

What you can do

If you believe someone is at risk of suicide:

- Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their heads, or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)

- Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

- Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

- If possible, do not leave the person alone.