Braintree women to spend year behind bars in death of adopted son

Date: 2004-09-02
Source: Seacoast News

DEDHAM, Mass. - A Braintree woman will spend a year behind bars after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 2-year-old adopted son.

Natalia Higier, 49, was sentenced Tuesday in Norfolk Superior Court to 2 1/2 years in jail, but the 18-month balance of the sentence was suspended for four years.

Higier originally claimed she left her son, Zachary, unattended for a few moments and found him unconscious on the kitchen floor. But during her sentencing she said she was tossing the toddler in the air when he hit his head on a coffee table.

She took the boy to the doctor two hours later when he was unresponsive. Zachary was transported to Children's Hospital in Boston where he was put on life support. He died two days later.

Zachary suffered a bilateral skull fracture consistent with a fall from a three-story building in the August 2002 incident, according to medical reports. He had a massive stroke on the right side of the brain, a smaller stroke on the left side, brain swelling and detached retinas. Prosecutors asked for a three- to five-year state prison sentence.

Higier was also ordered to wear an electronic monitor for six months following her release from jail.

Higier and her ex-husband adopted Zachary from a Russian orphanage. He was their only child.


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