A Wisconsin woman with Russian heritage who is charged in the strangulation of her 8-year-old son was growing increasingly paranoid and erratic about the war in Ukraine, authorities said.
Natalia Aleksandrovna Hitchcock, 41, of Sheboygan Falls, is alleged to have choked her youngest son unconscious on March 30, causing fatal injuries.
Hitchcock is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
The boy who died Friday is Oliver Hitchcock, Sheboygan Falls police said in a statement.
Oliver’s father and a second child were present at the family’s apartment during the attack, police said.
The complaint says Hitchcock confessed to investigators that she strangled her youngest boy and that she held her 11-year-old son’s head under water in a bathtub and stabbed herself in the chest.
The names of the children and their father are not provided in the criminal complaint; instead, they were referred to as Victim 1, Victim 2 and Witness 1.
Witness 1 told an officer the war in Ukraine appeared to be taking a toll on the mental health of Hitchcock, who the complaint says has Russian roots. Witness 1 said Hitchcock did not have any previously diagnosed mental illnesses.
“Hitchcock’s mother lived in Russia and … Witness 1 was worried about Hitchcock’s mental state of mind as she watched TV with the war between Russia and Ukraine,” the complaint says.
“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,” according to the complaint.
“He advised that Hitchcock also complained that she could not book a flight to Russia to see her parents, which made her angry,” it says. “He said that he felt the war between Russia and Ukraine amped up Hitchcock more than ever and that she started to drink alcohol.”
Attempts to reach a lawyer who may be representing Hitchcock were unsuccessful Wednesday. She was listed as an inmate in the county jail.
NBC affiliate WTMJ of Milwaukeereported Hitchcock was held on $1 million bond in an initial appearance in court Tuesday.
According to the complaint, Hitchcock waived her Miranda rights and admitted to violently attacking her children and stabbing herself with a knife.
She also told a detective that for the previous five days, she had been unable to concentrate and that she felt her kids were going to be taken away from her, it says.