A 42-year-old mother in Wisconsin who killed her 8-year-old son by strangling him, tried to drown her 11-year-old son, and attempted to stab herself in the heart will likely spend the remainder of her days locked up — but not in prison.
Sheboygan County Circuit Court Judge Daniel J. Borowski on Thursday ordered Natalia Aleksandrovna Hitchcock to spend the rest of her life in a mental facility with the state Department of Health Services for killing young Oliver Hitchcock in March of 2022, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
The violence unfolded at the apartment Hitchcock shared with her husband of 15 years and their two sons.
According to the criminal complaint, officers were called at 4:55 p.m. to the defendant’s apartment on March 30, 2022, on a “report of a possible stabbing,” the criminal complaint indicates. “While en route to the dispatched location, dispatch advised officers that an eight year old was possibly stabbed and the female wanted to kill herself.”
When the police arrived, a distraught male witness told the officers to “get in here,” according to the complaint. Officers entered a living room to find an unconscious boy — later identified as Oliver — laying on his back. He was “very pale white and bluish in color” with obvious bruising around his neck consistent with strangulation.
Despite the efforts of rescue personnel, the child died. A doctor later said Oliver had blood coming from his nose, visible bleeding under the skin, marks on his neck, and multiple bruises — all telltale signs of strangulation, the complaint indicates.
Hitchcock’s husband, who was on the scene when police arrived, told first responders that his wife had tried to stab him. He indicated that the defendant was normally “against drugs” and “usually” against drinking alcohol but had recently started imbibing vodka, the complaint indicates.
Her husband was asked if Hitchcock had mental health issues, according to the complaint.
“She does now,” he replied.
The husband allegedly added that Hitchcock “became violent when she was angry” and experienced “surges of rage” in connection with the war in Ukraine, which began when Russia invaded and occupied parts of the smaller country starting in February 2022. Hitchcock is of Russian descent and her husband said her mother still lives there. He also told police that his wife was “worried that people were going to be coming from a bigger city to attack them.”
In an interview with police, Hitchcock confessed to killing Oliver and said that she “had not been sleeping for the past five days, explaining that within the prior five days she gotten approximately eight hours of sleep.” She went on to say that she began to have a ‘brain fog’ and “did not have control of her thoughts and heard voices in her head.”
She later said that she “felt like she had no other choice but to take her life” and that she “did not want her kids to be abused” so she would “end his suffering with my hands.”
She acknowledged that her husband told her she was “stressed out by the war between Russia and Ukraine,” but she told police that “she was more worried that she was being sold by people on the dark web.” She also said the felt her kids were going to be taken away from her by social workers, or that “people from the dark web were going to take her kids away and do bad things to them.”
According to the circuit court docket, Hitchcock pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree murder in her son’s death. Judge Borowski then adjudicated Hitchcock as “guilty” of the murder, but “not guilty due to mental disease or defect.”
A second charge of attempted first-degree homicide was dismissed but read into the court record as part of a plea agreement reached with prosecutors at the district attorney’s office. Hitchcock’s attorney, Christina G. Petros, asked the court to give her client a sentence of 40 years.
“How can a mother ever do this? What is the explanation?” Judge Borowski said during Thursday’s sentencing hearing, according to Green Bay ABC affiliate WBAY-TV. “The explanation here is that by virtue of her mental health and diagnosis, that she became acutely psychotic to the point she hallucinated and took the life of her own child.”
Under state law, individuals committed to a mental health facility for life can still be let go on a conditional release after six months and may petition for such relief every six months thereafter.
An emotional Hitchcock addressed the court, sobbing while she said how much she regrets her actions.
“I miss him so much. I just want him to be remembered,” she said of Oliver. “He is amazing boy, and I want to say I’m sorry to everyone and thank you to everyone who was trying to save him.”
Hitchcock’s attorney has 20 days to file an appeal of her sentence.
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