Complaint: Mother charged with killing son had “surges of rage,” was agitated by news coverage from Ukraine

Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 10:06 AM CDT
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SHEBOYGAN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Sheboygan Falls mother said she killed her 8-year-old son because she feared he would be taken away from her and abused, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News. The Russian native was said to be agitated by news coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Natalia Hitchcock, 41, made her first appearance in court Tuesday on charges she killed her 8-year-old son Oliver and attempted to kill her 11-year-old son. The court commissioner set Natalia Hitchcock’s bond at $1 million.

Hitchcock is charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide.

Family members were in court--including Oliver’s father. He was in tears as Natalia entered the court.

As Natalia was being escorted out of court, she turned to her husband and said, “I’m so sorry… I don’t know what happened.”

Hitchcock’s attorney told the court there’s a question of competency.

On March 30, police responded to a 911 call from the boy’s father at the Plank Trail Apartments. Officers arrived to find the unconscious boy on his back. They described him as “pale white and bluish in color.” The responding officers observed bruising on the boy’s neck consistent with having been strangled. The officer started chest compressions. First responders transported the boy to the hospital.

Oliver was later taken to Children’s Wisconsin. A doctor told investigators that the boy had injuries consistent with strangulation. The boy had bruises on his neck “which appeared to have been from fingers or hands,” according to a criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News.

Back at the scene, Natalia Hitchcock emerged from bedroom, armed with a small knife. Hitchcock’s husband told officials that she had stabbed herself.

The husband told a detective that he and Natalia had been married for 15 years and lived with their two children--8-year-old Oliver and an 11-year-old son who was not named.

The father said that Natalia “became violent when she was angry and had rage.” He said she had “surges of rage.”

The father said Natalia’s mother lived in Russia and he was worried about his wife’s mental state of mind as she watched television coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the war. He said things became “very serious” a few days before Oliver was killed. Natalia asked her husband to stay home from work, which he did. Natalia talked about buying survival gear and knives and guns, according to her husband.

She complained about not being able to book a flight to Russia to see her parents.

“He said that the felt the war between Russia and Ukraine amped up Hitchcock more than ever and that she started to drink alcohol,” reads the complaint. “Hitchcock was worried that people were going to be coming from a bigger city to attack them.”

On March 30, the husband was sleeping when his 11-year-old son woke him up to say that his brother was dead. The father said he ran to Oliver’s room and found him on the bedroom floor. He remembered Natalia saying “I killed Oliver,” according to the complaint. He started CPR and called 911.

During this time, Natalia had been walking around the apartment with a knife, “dazed, saying she was going to kill everyone in the house.” She held the knife to her chest, and her husband grabbed it out of her hand. He also got a second knife from her. Natalia suffered a small puncture wound to the chest.

The father said Natalia had not been diagnosed with mental health disorders and was not on medication. He said she drank vodka on rare occasions.

Natalia told police that “someone was controlling her mind and she had been poisoned.” She said she had been trying to save her sons from abuse. She mentioned having “brain fog.”

When asked what happened to Oliver, she replied “I suffocate him,” according to the complaint.

Natalia Hitchcock told a detective that she believed social workers were going to take away her children and people were looking at her as if she was a Russian spy. She worried people from “the dark web” were going to take the kids.

Detectives asked Natalia if she had done anything to her other son. She said she had tried dunked him underneath bathwater to “scare him.” She said she did it so he would understand his life was in danger. The boy told investigators that his mom asked him to go underwater to see how long he could last. At some point, he felt “like her whole body was pushing him down.” He said the water wasn’t very high, but believed it there was more water in the tub, he would have drowned. He got out of the bathroom and later saw his mother in the kitchen holding a large knife. He said he started screaming at her and she put the knife away and hugged him. The rest of the day “went on as normal.”

On April 1, officers informed Natalia that Oliver had passed away. In a calm tone, she replied, “Well, I guess I accomplished what I set out to do then.” She started to cry softly. She said she feared he was going to be abused that that he “would be better off dead.”

Hitchcock said she had taken a large amount of Tylenol. During a search warrant, officers found several bottles of Tylenol, including one empty bottle in a closet. Investigators collected a sample of her blood. Results are pending.

WATCH: Sheboygan Falls Police Department speaks on death of 8-year-old
WATCH: Sheboygan Falls Police Department speaks on death of 8-year-old

At least two officers wore body cameras, according to Sheboygan Falls Police Chief Eric Miller. Body camera footage has been turned over to the DA’s office

Oliver’s family started a GoFundMe. The boy’s uncle writes, “We, Oliver’s family, have been in deep turmoil over the last few days as we struggle to come to grips with the senseless and inconceivable act of a mother harming her own son. No one should suffer at the hands of a parent – the person whose job it is to protect a child and keep him from harm. With no history of aggression or abuse, we are left with nothing but questions as to why and how this could happen.”

Relatives say Oliver’s dad made the decision to donate the boy’s organs. Doctors have found four matches.

People from the area have been wearing purple in support of Oliver’s family. Purple was the boy’s favorite color.

MORE COVERAGE: Sheboygan Falls turns #PurpleForOliver

“This is a small community and when one of our members is hurting... we all are,” Executive Director of Sheboygan Falls Chamber Main-Street Shirl Breunig. “This has been a very tragic circumstance and we really in a simple way... hope that the family knows we are thinking about them.”

A candlelight vigil for Oliver will be held Sunday, April 10 at River Park in Sheboygan Falls.

Hitchcock is charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide.

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