Police: Rochester mother attempted to kill five children and herself

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) — A Rochester woman was arrested after allegedly attempting to kill herself and her five children.

Farhiyo Abdullahi, 32, of Rochester is facing charges after police say on Oct. 1, Abdullahi locked herself and her five children inside of a car in a garage and attempted to fill the car with exhaust.

RPD was called to an apartment in the 200 Block of 1st Street NE around 7 p.m. on Oct. 2 for a welfare check. A 24-year-old sister of Abdullahi, who was staying with the family, was concerned about the welfare of Abdullahi and her five children. She told police there was an incident where the kids had been locked in a car for multiple hours.

Officials interviewed Abdullahi, who reportedly told them she was feeling okay. She allegedly said she was feeling a little depressed, but nothing significant. Based on her responses, officers felt they did not have enough information to take her into a hospital for evaluation.

RPD said while police were in the lobby of the apartment building and calling social services, a neighbor of Abdullahi ran down and told officers that she was fighting with her sister upstairs. Officers raced upstairs, and saw the sister on top of Abdullahi. Police said the sister was the victim and was defending herself.

Abdullahi was taken into custody. She was cited for domestic assault, inflicting bodily harm and disorderly conduct charges. She was taken to Mayo Clinic Saint Marys for evaluation, while the sister watched the kids overnight.

The morning of Oct. 3, social services asked police for assistance in taking all of the children into protective custody. They went to a residence to pick up the 4-year-old, and picked up the 11-year-old, the 9-year-old and the 7-year-old at Riverside Elementary School. The 10-year-old was picked up from Jefferson Elementary School, RPD said.

On Oct. 7, social services interviewed the five children around 9 a.m. After interviewing the children, officials learned that Abdullahi had put the children in a car in the garage and got in the car with them. Police said the windows were up and that Abdullahi started the car. RPD said the children also said Abdullahi used a pipe or tube to run exhaust through the window.

The children said they were in the car for two hours. Police said eventually, two of the children began to feel sick and the 11-year-old threw up. Police said Abdullahi panicked and opened the car door and took the kids out.

Police said she then punched the 11-year-old in the face twice.

According to police, when they interviewed Abdullahi at the hospital about the incident, she minimized the situation but did admit that it happened. She allegedly said they were in the car for a short period of time and that she plugged the exhaust pipe with a towel. She said she not have a pipe going into the car. Police said there was physical evidence that indicated otherwise, and that they believed the children’s story.

On Wednesday, Abdullahi was released from Mayo Clinic Saint Marys and taken into custody at the Adult Detention Center. The Olmsted County Attorney’s Office said Abdullahi is facing five counts of first degree attempted murder premeditated and five counts of endangering a child. She is expected to be arraigned in court on Thursday.

Farhiyo Abdullahi
Byron Tollefson

Byron Tollefson

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