A Wisconsin woman has been charged with murdering her 8-year-old son and of attempting to kill her 11-year-old son while both were home during a school district’s spring break. Among the possible agitating factors behind the attacks were fears over Russia’s war with Ukraine, according to a criminal complaint on file in Sheboygan County.
Natalia Aleksandrovna Hitchcock, who is currently 41 but who will soon be 42 in a matter of days, of Plank Trail Lane in Sheboygan Falls is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday and obtained by Law&Crime. Intentional homicide is the Badger State’s highest homicide charge.
The case unfolded on Wednesday, March 30. Officers were called at 4:55 p.m. to the defendant’s apartment 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 laying on his back.”
The document continues:
The boy was an eight-year old child, who will be identified for purposes of this criminal complaint as Victim 1. Victim 1 was very pale white and bluish in color. Officer Palese did not observe any bleeding or any type of wounds on Victim 1 but he did observe bruising on the boy’s neck consistent with having been strangled. Officer Doxtator began performing chest compressions on Victim 1. First Responders and Orange Cross arrived and began providing treatment.
Officer Doxtator reports that a First Responder checked Victim 1 for a pulse and was unable to find one. The child later regained a pulse and was transported for medical treatment.
The Sheboygan Falls Police Department separately identified the 8-year-old who died — Victim 1 — as Oliver Hitchcock. He was a student at Sheboygan Falls Elementary School, the police department said.
Despite the efforts of rescue personnel, the child died. A doctor later said Oliver had blood coming from his nose, visible petechiae, marks on his neck, and multiple bruises — all telltale signs of strangulation, the complaint indicates.
The charging document then explains how the officers allegedly confronted the defendant and how yet another victim was discovered. “Witness 1” is elsewhere described as the defendant’s husband of 15 years:
After entering the apartment Officer Palese asked Witness 1, “where is she,” referring to the woman with a knife. Witness 1 pointed to a rear bedroom. Witness 1 went into the bedroom and moments later he and Natalia A. Hitchcock, DOB 04/10/80, emerged from the bedroom. Officer Palese observed a small kitchen knife in either Witness 1’s or Hitchcock’s hand. Witness 1 placed the knife on a bed in the living room. When asked if he was injured at all, Witness 1 said, “She tried to stab me.” He also indicated that Hitchcock stabbed herself, but he did not think that she stabbed anyone else. Law enforcement later learned that another child had been at the residence, an 11 years old child who will be identified for purposes of this criminal complaint as Victim 2.
The document reveals that both victims were the couple’s children and that the family lived together at the aforementioned apartment. The husband indicated that the defendant was against drugs and “usually” against drinking but had recently started imbibing vodka, the complaint indicates.
“She does now,” the husband allegedly told officers when asked if the defendant had mental health issues.
The husband allegedly added that the defendant “became violent when she was angry” and experienced “surges of rage.” Some of the issues, the husband said, were the result of the current war between Russia and Ukraine:
Witness 1 told Detective Hatch that Hitchcock’s mother lived in Russia and that he, Witness 1, was worried about Hitchcock’s mental state of mind as she watched TV with the war between Russia and Ukraine. He added that things became very serious the prior three to four days. He advised that Hitchcock asked him to stay home from work and that he did so. He added that within the last prior few days Hitchcock also wanted to buy survival gear such as a camping stove and fuel and also wanted to buy knives and guns. He said no to the knives and guns, but did go and purchase extra food as well as a camping stove and fuel with Hitchcock to make her feel safe. He advised that Hitchcock also complained that she could not book a flight to Russia to see her parents, which made her angry. He said that he felt the war between Russia and Ukraine amped up Hitchcock more than ever and that she started to drink alcohol. Witness 1 also advised that Hitchcock was worried that people were going to be coming from a bigger city to attack them.
The husband further told the authorities that the defendant’s mother called to talk to the defendant on the day of the attack. He said the second victim woke him from a nap by yelling to him that the first victim was “dead.”
“Victim 2 looked scared and very frightened,” the complaint says. “He got up and ran to Victim 1’s room and saw Victim 1 laying on the bedroom floor at the base of a bunk bed.”
“I killed [Oliver],” the defendant allegedly told him.
The husband said he took Oliver’s “lifeless” body to the living room for CPR.
“Victim 1 was not breathing and was completely out of it, limp and lifeless,” the document indicates, citing the husband. “He advised that he saw a small amount of blood coming from Victim 1’s right ear and saw red marks on Victim 1’s neck, but no blood.”
The defendant then allegedly began “walking around the apartment with a knife, dazed, saying she was going to kill everyone in the house,” according to the complaint, which again cited the husband. He described the knife as being “approximately five to six inches long with a wooden handle and a silver blade.”
When the defendant held the knife to her chest, the husband said he grabbed it; that action resulted in a “small cut on his left ring finger,” the charging document explains The husband also said he wrestled a second knife away from the defendant.
When another officer — Officer Schneider — took the defendant to a waiting squad car, the officer noted blood seeping through the defendant’s shirt. The defendant allegedly said she created a small puncture wound in her chest in an effort to “cut her heart.”
According to the charging documents, the husband denied that his wife suffered diagnosed mental health issues, denied that she took any drugs, and again said she only rarely drank.
The criminal complaint then explains the defendant’s side of the story.
Officer Schneider briefly asked Hitchcock what happened. Hitchcock said someone was controlling her mind and she had been poisoned. She kept using the phrase that she had a “brain fog.” She said that she had been trying to save her sons from being abused. When asked if she had any mental health issues, Hitchcock said no. When asked what happened to her son, Hitchcock said, “I suffocate him.” When asked why she suffocated her child, Hitchcock said, “I did not want him to be abused.”
After being read her Miranda rights, the defendant allegedly continued by indicating she had only received two hours of sleep the night before the attack and had been struggling to sleep for several days. She said she experienced a “brain fog” starting around 4:00 p.m.
“She said she did not have control of her thoughts and heard voices in her head,” the document continues. “She said she also experienced back pain so she took a Tylenol bottle, poured half of the pills into a cup filled with orange juice and that once the pills dissolved she drank the juice to fall asleep and never wake up.”
As her husband napped and her children played video games, the defendant allegedly told the police that “she began to have thoughts that the Russian government was going to take her children and abuse them.”
She also claimed her husband “was trying to sell her and the boys to the dark web.”
“She advised that she believed it best to take Victim 1’s life because he was the youngest and most vulnerable,” the charging document goes on to allege. “She said that she believed Victim 1 would not have been able to defend himself if he had gotten abused and she thought it better to kill him rather than watch him be abused. She said that she placed both hands around Victim 1’s neck and squeezed as hard as she could until Victim 1 stopped breathing. She said that she observed Victim 1os face lose color and that once he lost consciousness and fell to the floor, she grabbed a kitchen knife and began to stab herself in the chest. When asked if she intentionally wanted to hurt Victim 1, Hitchcock said yes because she did not want to see him be abused.”
The defendant was taken to the hospital with what was described as a “critical” amount of Tylenol in her system.
A subsequent interview with a detective yielded similar information, but when asked about the war between Russia and Ukraine, a different story emerged, according to the paperwork. The defendant admitted her husband voiced concerns about the war causing stress, but she said she was “more worried that she was being sold by people on the dark web,” the complaint says.
When asked about why she killed her child, the defendant allegedly said she wanted to “[e]nd his suffering with my hands.” She also allegedly said she felt she “had no other choice” but to kill herself because she feared people perceived her as a Russian spy.
After describing yet again how she suffocated Oliver, the defendant allegedly said she was never going to kill Victim 2 because “Victim 2 was bigger” and “it would have been very difficult for her to have killed Victim 2.”
But the defendant then said she dunked Victim 2’s head under the water in a bath tub “to scare him so that he would understand his life was in danger.”
“When asked why she killed Victim 1 and not Victim 2 as well, Hitchcock said that Victim 1 was so little and so innocent and she did not want him to suffer,” the charging document further alleges.
When a sergeant told the defendant on April 1, 2022, that Oliver had died, the defendant allegedly uttered the following in an allegedly calm tone: “Well, I guess I accomplished what I set out to do then.”
“Shortly thereafter she began to cry softly and said she did it because she was concerned that her son was going to be sexually assaulted and she felt he would be better off dead,” the document adds.
Victim 2 told the police that his mother had asked him to hold his head under the water of the family’s bathtub to see how long he could he could remain submerged.
“He said that after he went under the water he felt his mother’s hands on his head, pushing him down and at some point it felt like her whole body was pushing him down,” the child told the authorities. “He said he was able to get out from underneath her so she had not been keeping him under the water. He described the water as not having been very high and indicated that if it had been higher he probably would have drowned.”
“He said that he eventually exited the bathroom and that his mother was near the kitchen area holding a big knife up,” the document continues. “He said that he started screaming at her and then tried to stay away from her. He said that she put the knife away and hugged him and that the rest of their day went on as normal.”
He also allegedly said that “his mother did not want them to have a bad death and that she tried to kill them by giving them a peaceful death,” according to the complaint.
The older child then described entering a bedroom on March 30, 2022, and seeing his younger brother dead.
“He said that his brother had a sheet over him with his feet hanging out,” the criminal complaint reads. “When he got closer to Victim 1 he saw what he described as red dots on his face and that his feet were white. He said that he started screaming very loudly with Witness 1 entering and starting CPR. He also said that his mother ended up in the kitchen with a different knife, which she held to her neck. At some point he exited the residence, ran and hid in the garage.”
That’s when the police arrived.
A search of the crime scene yielded four different bottled containing four “different types of Tylenol, an empty bottle of Tylenol from within a closet hamper, and several open bottles of alcohol,” the document concludes.
Test results were not complete, as of the time the document was drafted, on the defendant’s blood.
During a recent court appearance, the defendant tried to speak to her husband in court. As she was led back to jail, she turned around again — in tears.
“I’m sorry,” she said loud enough for a television camera to pick up her words. “I don’t know what happened.”
The case appears poised test the parameters of Wisconsin’s mental health defense.
“A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect the person lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his or her conduct or conform his or her conduct to the requirements of law,” the relevant statute indicates.
Read the charging documents and two earlier police press releases below:
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