A Wisconsin woman accused of strangling her 8-year-old son to death told police she felt like she was in a “brain fog” during the attack, according to authorities.
Natalia Hitchcock, 41, is now facing charges of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted intentional homicide in death of her 8-year-old son Oliver Hitchcock, who died Friday from the injuries he suffered during the March 30 attack, according to a statement from the Sheboygan Falls Police Department.
Hitchcock’s husband of 15 years told authorities that his wife had become increasingly paranoid and had “surges of rage” in the days leading up to Oliver’s death after watching television coverage of the war between Russia and Ukraine, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
“He said that he felt the war between Russia and Ukraine amped up Hitchcock more than ever and that she started to drink alcohol,” the complaint stated.
She had asked her husband to stay home from work, which he did in the days leading up to the death.
According to her husband’s account, Hitchcock had allegedly wanted to purchase survival gear such as a camping stove, fuel, guns and knives. While he agreed to purchase extra food and a camping stove with fuel to “make her feel safe,” he said no to buying the weapons.
Her husband, who is only referred to in the complaint as Witness #1, told authorities she had been angry she couldn’t book a flight to see her parents—who live in Russia—and began to worry that “people were going to be coming from a bigger city to attack them,” authorities wrote.
Her mental state continued to deteriorate and the erratic behavior came to a head on March 30, while the couple’s two young sons were home from school on spring break, the complaint stated.
Her husband told police that his wife had talked to her mother on the telephone that day and he had gone to take a nap. When he woke up, he said his 11-year-old was screaming that Oliver was dead and looked “scared and very frightened,” according to the court records.
He rushed to find his son’s lifeless body in a bedroom of the apartment the family shared, carried him into the living room, began to perform CPR and called 911. Oliver was resuscitated, but later died from his injuries at a local hospital, police said. Officers observed bruising around the boy’s neck “consistent with having been strangled,” according to the complaint.
While her husband was frantically trying to save the young boy, Hitchcock had allegedly been wandering through the apartment, dazed, carrying a knife to her chest and threatening to kill everyone in the house. Her husband told authorities he took the knife away from her and had wrestled a second knife away from her before authorities arrived at the scene, authorities said.
Hitchcock, who had a small self-inflicted knife wound to her chest, later told an officer that she felt someone had been “controlling her mind” and she was in a “brain fog,” according to the complaint.
Hitchcock—who had no prior diagnosed mental health issues—allegedly admitted to suffocating her son and said she had “been trying to save her sons from being abused,” authorities wrote.
She told investigators that she believed the Russian government was going to take her children and abuse them and also believed her husband was trying to sell her and the children on the dark web, the complaint stated.
She decided to kill her son Oliver “because he was the youngest and most vulnerable,” the complaint alleges.
“She said that she believed (Oliver) 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,” investigators said.
Hitchcock allegedly admitted to placing both her hands around the young boy’s neck and squeezing “as hard as she could” until he stopped breathing. After he fell to the floor, Hitchcock—who had taken a large quantity of Tylenol in an attempt to take her life—allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife and attempted to stab herself in the chest, authorities said.
Her 11-year-old son told authorities that the day before the killing, Hitchcock had tried to push his head underwater in the bathtub, but he managed to get out from underneath her. He said he later found his mom with a knife and began to scream, but she put the weapon away and gave him a hug.
When asked by detectives whether she had been trying to harm her older son during the incident, she allegedly said she hadn’t wanted to kill him but had just wanted to scare him.
When investigators told her that Oliver had died in the hospital on Friday, she allegedly said, “Well, I guess I accomplished what I set out to do then” and began to cry softly, authorities said.
In court Tuesday, Hitchcock apologized to her husband, who was sitting in the Sheboygan County courtroom.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, according to local station TMJ4. “I don’t know what happened.”