Day care worker tried to hang a one-year-old toddler in her care before escaping in a mini-van and hitting two people.
Nataliia M. Karia, 42, from Minneapolis, then attempted to take her own life by jumping off a bridge, but was stopped by bystanders.
Authorities added that the 16 month old boy managed to survive. Assistant Police Chief Kris Arneson said a parent arriving at the day care centre to collect a different child saved the boy.
The suspect is believed to be the operator of the day care — took off in a gold mini-van. She hit a pedestrian and bicyclist but kept going, authorities say. The pedestrian suffered several broken bones in the hit-and-run incident.
The suspect was later held back by bystanders on a highway overpass as she threatened to jump. She is now in custody and is being evaluated at a local hospital, police said at a news conference.
“We don’t know what was happening with her,” Mr Arneson told the Minneapolis Star Tribune when asked about the suspect.
He said the facility had fewer than six children inside during the time of the incident.
“It’s horrific, horrific,” Arneson said of the assault on the child. “We never want children to be injured; that’s part of the reason we call in our chaplains. It’s a horrific scene for officers to encounter, and the victims in this case have injuries based on her actions.”
Shannon Keough, 38, told Star Tribune, she first started bringing her soon-to-be 3-year-old son to Karia’s day care when he was about 10 months old. “I always trusted her completely and never had any reservations about dropping him off with her.”
She said that in all that time, “I’ve always known her to be a loving and generous day-care provider and mother.”
“She was like a second mother to my son,” and what she did was “completely inconsistent with who I know her to be.”
While acknowledging that it’s “not my place to diagnose,” Keough noted that Karia’s youngest daughter just had her first birthday in the past couple of weeks, and “I suspect she was struggling with postpartum depression or something similar. I feel a sense of guilt that I didn’t notice she was struggling — how isolated she must have felt.”
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp
Share your comments below.