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Minneapolis day care provider who hanged toddler receives 10 years of probation

Nataliia Karia, 42, of Minneapolis has been charged with second-degree attempted murder, third-degree assault and two counts of criminal vehicular operation. The owner of an in-home day care center charged with attempted murder has been booked in the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility. (Photo Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

MINNEAPOLiS - A Minneapolis day care provider accused of hanging a toddler in her home was sentenced to 10 years’ probation on Monday, according to the Hennepin County attorney’s office.

Nataliia Karia, 43, pleaded guilty in February to attempted murder in the November 2016 incident. At the time, she also pleaded guilty to third-degree assault of the 16-month-old boy and two counts of criminal vehicular operation for hitting and injuring a pedestrian, another driver and a bicyclist as she fled in her minivan.

She faced up to 15 years in prison.

Hennepin County District Judge Jay Quam handed down the probation sentence Monday after three days of hearings with the stipulation that if Karia violates the conditions of her probation, she could be sent to prison for 183 months.

The judge also ordered that Karia receive psychiatric counseling, not have any unsupervised contact with minors, and remain confined to her adult son’s home with electronic monitoring for at least two months.

The judge said she can only leave the home for medical appointments and any court appearances involving her parental rights to her daughters who are now 10, 7 and 2.

In addition, the judge said she can “never again do child care.”

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Christina Warren argued against the probation, saying that Karia should be sentenced according to guidelines to 153 months in prison, partly based on the fact that Karia waived mental illness as a defense and “admitted she acted with intent to kill the 16-month-old boy in her care” along with severely injuring three other people that day.

The three people Karia injured provided impact statements during a May hearing. One young woman still has traumatic flashbacks, remains in rehab and could face surgery for her injuries still. A man dragged under the minivan for several blocks said he lost jobs because of severe injuries to his feet. The bicyclist Karia hit said he was depressed and couldn’t work for nearly four months after the incident.

Quam said the case was “one of the hardest cases I’ve ever had,” adding that Karia “was suffering extreme mental illness at the time, though she understood the consequences of her actions.”

During her guilty plea in February, Karia, who is originally from Ukraine, spoke through an interpreter about the events that occurred on Nov. 18, 2016, at her licensed home day care in the 2700 block of Humboldt Avenue South about two blocks from Lake of the Isles.

Karia told the court she didn’t have a clear memory of what happened that morning after she took the toddler into the basement with her to look for clothes for her younger daughter, according to the county attorney’s office.

According to the criminal complaint, Karia told a father who was dropping off his young son that she couldn’t take it anymore and to come see what she had done. He walked toward 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.

Meanwhile, Karia fled in her minivan, rear-ending a car near West 28th Street and Grand Avenue and then striking the driver of the car when he got out to inspect the damage. She dragged that driver for 10 blocks. Then, at West 28th Street and Park Avenue, she hit a bicyclist.

A few minutes later, police received a report of a woman threatening to jump onto Interstate 94 from the Park Avenue overpass. Citizens grabbed Karia and prevented her from jumping until officers arrived.

In court Monday, Karia and her attorney said that she had been struggling with mental health issues.

The attorney also said that Karia’s husband inflicted physical and emotional abuse on his wife, whom he met through an international marriage agency in Ukraine.

“I apologize and I don’t know if I would be able to forgive,” Karia said in court through an interpreter. “I don’t know if I could forgive someone who did that to my son.”

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