Isanti County Jail nurse killed, remembered for empathy and smiles

Prosecutors filed murder charges Monday against the man accused of shooting and killing his wife over the weekend in Fish Lake Township.

Sarah Carda was Isanti County’s Jail nurse for nine years and she left a big impression on her co-workers.

Co-workers told FOX 9 that Sarah was full of empathy and an endless source of laughs, so they were shocked to hear she was allegedly a repeat victim of domestic violence.

Carda brought her smile to work every day at the Isanti County jail.

"She was always trying to take care of us, always asking us how we were doing," said Isanti County Jail administrator Capt. Cortney Dingman. "Always asking what she could do to help us. Always bringing in food treats. Sharing with everybody. Sharing a cup of coffee and laughs with all of us."

The registered nurse spent nine years making friends among the staff and building bridges with patients in custody. But her smiles also kept some co-workers from suspecting Carda had any trouble at home.

In reality, her husband had a pending domestic assault case against him and a judge had ordered Mike Larry Carda to stay away from Sarah.

Domestic violence victim advocates – like the attorneys and advocates at Standpoint – say that’s a particularly vulnerable time.

"When you have an order of protection in place, that person is starting to feel like they're losing that power and control," said Standpoint executive director Thi Synavone. "And so that's when the violence can escalate."

The home where Sarah lived is boarded up now, but glass on the ground hints at how she died. Court documents show a Chisago County deputy got called out to the home on Friday. He walked up to the home, heard arguing and knocked.

The deputy said he heard a woman say "he has a gun" and then heard gunfire. As he backed away from a window, three gunshots blasted through the window at head level.

Deputies say they had to use a drone and a K9 officer to get Mike Carda out of the house.

He had a court appearance from jail on Monday, but he didn’t get out of bed for it and he didn’t say anything.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and Sarah’s co-workers in law enforcement say she was brave and did the right thing by trying to leave.

"It's hard for somebody to leave a marriage, leave a home, leave a family, and they just want to work on it," said Capt. Dingman. "But it's a vicious cycle. If it's continuously happening, it's not going to go away and it's just going to progressively get worse."

Sarah’s family has started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. Any leftover funds will go to the Domestic Abuse Project.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, there are ways to get help. Please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).