Grandma pushed down stairs, hit with sauce can in fatal fight with daughter, cops say

A 78-year-old great-grandmother died days after she was attacked in a fight over her daughter’s unpaid rent, Minnesota authorities say.

Officers in Maple Grove have requested homicide charges against 49-year-old Nicole Wobbeking following the June 27 incident. Wobbeking had already been charged with assault, but a recent autopsy ruled her mother’s July 5 death was related to the prior attack, the Maple Grove Police Department said Tuesday, Aug. 1 in a news release.

According to a criminal complaint, Sheila Wobbeking went to Nicole Wobbeking’s home June 27 to speak with her about her daughter’s unpaid rent. Sheila Wobbeking owned the home her daughter lives in, authorities said.

Nicole Wobbeking slapped her mother in the face, then pushed her down several stairs, police said. Sheila Wobbeking was then struck in her ribs and hips with an unopened pasta sauce can, according to the complaint.

Police said the 78-year-old complained of rib pain and had broken her ankle in the fall. Nicole Wobbeking was arrested on June 29, according to police.

But a week later, officers were sent to Sheila Wobbeking’s home in Plymouth for a “medical emergency,” police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Due to the prior assault, Plymouth police notified Maple Grove police detectives of the death,” authorities said. “The Hennepin County Medical Examiner later determined in a post-mortem exam the manner of death was a homicide related to the physical altercation on June 27.”

Nicole Wobbeking remains in custody on fifth-degree domestic assault and third-degree domestic assault charges.

An obituary described the 78-year-old great-grandmother as “a beautiful soul who will always be remembered for her dry wit, unconditional love and unwavering support to her family and friends.” She had four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“A noble soul devoted to the service of something greater, to her family, her friends, and her faith,” the obituary said. “Formidable and resolute, temperate and measured. Fearless and genuine, caring and compassionate. Generous beyond measure, selfless without equal. Sophisticated and eloquent, experienced and cultured without pretense.”

Maple Grove is a northwest suburb of Minneapolis.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and need someone to talk to, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support at 1-800-799-7233 or text “START” to 88788.

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