Daycare provider pleads guilty in infant hanging


An in-home daycare provider pleaded guilty to attempted murder for hanging a child in her care, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Thursday.

Nataliia Karia, 43, of Minneapolis, also pleaded guilty to third-degree assault of the 16-month-old boy and two counts of criminal vehicular operation for hitting a pedestrian, another driver, and a bicyclist as she fled in her minivan. Evidence in the case will be presented to Hennepin County District Court Judge Jay Quam on April 27 to determine sentencing, which could be up to 15 years in prison.
In court Thursday afternoon, Karia spoke through a Russian interpreter about the events that occurred on Nov. 18, 2016. She said she had taken the16-month old baby with her to the basement to look for clothes for her younger daughter. When she claimed not to have a clear memory of what happened next, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Christina Warren showed Karia photos from the basement taken by police later that morning. Warren also reminded Karia what she had previously said in a psychological evaluation; that she had taken the baby to the basement, she was looking for child sized tights for her daughter, and that she remembered the baby making choking sounds when he was hanging from a noose made out of those tights.
According to the criminal complaint, Karia told a father who was dropping off his young son that she couldn’t take it anymore and come see what she had done. He walked towards the basement and heard crying, went down the stairs and saw the toddler hanging from a noose. He released the child and ran out the door with him.

In the meantime, Karia fled in her minivan. She rear-ended a car on West 28th Street at Grand Avenue, shoving that car into the car ahead. 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 Street and Park Avenue, she struck a bicyclist, the complaint states. Five other people were also injured as a result of Karia’s reckless driving.
Karia told the court that she had been struggling with mental health issues in the weeks leading up to the incident. Judge Quam asked her if she understood that by pleading guilty to all counts against her, Karia gave up her rights to a trial and to using a mental illness defense. Karia said she understood.