A 43-year-old Minneapolis woman who operated a day-care program out of her home pleaded guilty on Thursday to attempted murder for hanging a 16-month-old boy in a noose and then fleeing the house.
Nataliia Karia also pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in the Nov. 18, 2016, incident, plus two counts of criminal vehicular operation for hitting a pedestrian, another driver and a bicyclist as she fled the scene in south Minneapolis in her minivan. Sentencing is scheduled for April 27, where Karia faces up to 15 years in prison.
Speaking through a Russian interpreter, Karia testified that she had taken the baby to the basement to look for clothes for her younger daughter but did not have a clear memory of what happened next, according to a news release from the Hennepin County attorney’s office.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Christina Warren told Karia that she had undergone a psychological evaluation after her arrest in which she stated she had taken the child to the basement and was looking for tights for her daughter, then remembered the baby making choking sounds when he was hanging from a noose made out of those tights.
According to court records, a father who was dropping off his child at Karia’s home on the 2700 block of Humboldt Av. S., said that Karia told him she had “done something bad.”
The man said he heard a baby crying in the basement and he ran downstairs to find the child hanging from a noose. He grabbed the child and ran out of the house.
Karia then fled in her minivan, rear-ending a car on West 28th St. at Grand Ave., shoving that car into another car.
When the driver of the first car got out to check for damage, Karia pulled into traffic and struck him, dragging him for 10 blocks. At West 28th St. and Park Av., her van struck a bicyclist. Five other people suffered injuries from her driving.
Karia testified that she had been struggling with mental health issues in the weeks before the incident.
Hennepin County District Judge Jay Quam asked her if she understood that by pleading guilty to the counts against her, she gave up her rights to a trial and to use a mental illness defense. Karia stated that she understood, the county attorney’s office said.
A week after the incident, the police said the toddler, who had been treated at Hennepin County Medical Center, was “doing fine.”