On a typical Wednesday, Sen. Nicole Mitchell would be at the Capitol conducting the business of the state. But this week, police caught her allegedly sneaking into someone else's home, dressed head to toe in black like some sort of "Scooby-Doo" villain.

The first-term Democrat made her first court appearance remotely Tuesday, on a charge of first-degree burglary, generating headlines that are the stuff of election year dreams and nightmares. Her absence on Wednesday rippled across the Capitol, as the Senate DFL canceled a scheduled hearing and held only a brief floor session.

In the wake of the arrest, her constituents in Woodbury and her colleagues in St. Paul tried to understand what just happened.

If you ask Detroit Lakes police — the ones who answered a call for help in the predawn darkness on Monday — what happened was a 49-year-old woman broke into her stepmother's home, dressed all in black, wielding a flashlight wrapped in a black sock as an improvised dimmer. Inside a backpack that wedged open a basement window were two laptops, including one that appeared to belong to her stepmother.

If you ask Mitchell — or read the police report or her account on Facebook — you get a glimpse of a family tragedy, thrust into the political spotlight. Last year she lost her father and her stepmother cut off contact. She came for her father's ashes, she said. She came for his old flannel shirt. She came to check on her stepmother's mental state.

We'll reserve judgment on what waking up to the sound of someone creeping around your house in the dark would do to anyone's mental state.

Most of Mitchell's colleagues seem to be reserving judgment as well.

Not all, of course. Democrats hold a one-vote majority in the Minnesota Senate and that one vote just got charged with a felony. Some Republicans are calling on Mitchell to resign or be ousted, even as the Republican presidential frontrunner goes on trial. Again.

We expect better from our elected officials. Family is complicated and this whole situation seems awful, but we don't have all the facts yet. So we wait, and hope this situation isn't exactly what it looks like.