A day-care owner hanged a 16-month-old boy at her Minneapolis home Friday, then fled through the city in her minivan, striking several pedestrians before unsuccessfully trying to jump from an overpass, police said.
Police said the suspect is Nataliia Karia, 42, who owns Uptown Daycare. She was in a hospital for unspecified treatment, and will be charged.
The child was rescued by a parent who arrived to drop off her own child and saw the boy dangling.
Karia was nowhere to be found. Police say she had fled in a gold minivan that would injure several others before police caught up with it.
“It’s horrific, horrific,” Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Kris Arneson said in a news conference. “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.”
According to Minneapolis police, the scene unfolded over 25 minutes and three dozen city blocks.
About 9:43 a.m., officers were called to the day care by the woman who found the child. In the background of the 911 recording, the child who had been hanging can be heard crying, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Moments later, police began receiving calls about a woman on a rampage in a gold minivan.
At 9:57 a.m., police say, the van struck a man standing on a corner 12 blocks east of the day care.
The van dragged the man “a significant distance,” breaking his bones and abrading his skin before he was able to get free. He was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.
Two minutes later, the minivan struck another person, a man on a bicycle at 28th St. East and Park Ave. South. The crash broke the bicyclist’s leg. He’s also expected to be okay.
After striking the bicyclist, police say, Karia continued driving north.
The van struck the car of a pregnant woman, who was not seriously injured, according to the Star Tribune.
Nicole Thomas, 33, told the paper she had just left Wellstone High School and was driving on Park Avenue when her car was hit. After Karia hit her car, she kept driving, police said. Thomas then saw the bicyclist inching himself away from the street.
“I was shaken up all day,” Thomas told the paper. “It was definitely crazy to be part of and to witness. I feel really lucky, given the circumstances.”
About 10 a.m., Karia stopped the van at Park Avenue South, at a bridge over Interstate 94. She told passersby that she wanted to jump.
They called 911 for help and, police said, “were holding the female suspect down so she couldn’t jump.”
Responding officers “joined the struggle to prevent Karia from going over the edge onto the freeway.”
She was arrested and taken to the hospital. But officers are still scratching their heads about what sparked Friday’s violence.
On her Facebook page, Karia cites her day-care center’s positive attributes: licensed child-care provider, college-educated mom, trained in first aid and CPR.
“I have a luxury home with a large fenced yard just steps away from the Lake of the Isles that has been remodeled for the safety of your child,” it says.