MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A day care provider who admitted to trying to hang a toddler in her care is now facing her sentence.
In Hennepin County Court Monday, Natalia Karia says it was severe mental illness that caused her to break that November day back in 2016. Further explaining that her physical and emotional stress was brought on by her abusive and controlling husband.
The 43-year-old Ukrainian immigrant addressed the court for about 25 minutes, speaking through an interpreter.
As she wiped at her tears, Karia spoke of how sorry she is for her horrific actions. Crimes that doctors who examined her conclude are the result of a severe mental illness.
Karia cried softly as she apologized to the toddler’s parents – as well as to the pedestrian and bicyclist she struck with her van as she drove away in a moment of rage.
Begged the mother of four, “Please forgive me for all that terrible day.”
In November 2016, the day care provider said she put a 16-month-old boy in a noose down in her Minneapolis basement, because she couldn’t take it anymore. Fortunately, the child was saved by a father who was dropping off another child at the home day care.
At Monday’s sentencing, Karia explained that she was suicidal in the weeks leading up to the event. Further telling the court that her abusive husband wouldn’t spend the money to provide her with emergency mental health care or medications.
“My husband was only concerned with money, how much it cost to go to the ER,” Karia said.
State prosecutors were seeking mandatory prison time at the Shakopee women’s prison, reasoning that she’d get the mental health care she needs there.
But in the end, Judge Jay Quam ruled that Karia’s mental state is a mitigating factor for a downward departure from state sentencing guidelines. He ruled that the mother of four children will serve 10 years probation.
“Questions remain, why this mother of four, with no criminal history would engage in such acts of violence?” Judge Quam said.
The court record includes 20 or so letters of support for Karia by parents of kids she’s cared for. Many of them stating that her actions that day were completely out of character for the caring provider they knew.
Conditions of her probation will include she be barred from doing any daycare and be placed on electronic home monitoring.
Karia explained that she is in the process of filing for divorce from her Ukrainian-American husband.