Viktoria Hilt was born as Nina Bazhenova in Irktsk, Russia and she was
adopted by Christopher and Peggy Sue Hilt at the age of 16 months old.
Nina joined a sister, Nataliya, who was four years old and had been
adopted from the Ukraine.
In July of 2005, the Hilt family was visiting relatives when Peggy
became upset with Nina and hit her over and over. Nina stopped
breathing the next day and Peggy called 911. First responders took Nina
to Prince William Hospital and she was pronounced dead. After finding
that Nina's cause of death was child abuse, Peggy was arrested:
"Obviously we are
taking this seriously. A two year old baby died at the hands of her
Commonwealth Attorney - J. Regan Wilson
Peggy told Police that she shook Nina, dropped her on the floor, kicked
her in the stomach, picked her up again and put her in bed where she
continued to hit her with a fist on her back and stomach. Nina's body
was covered in bruises between her eyebrows, on her chin, collarbone,
rib cage and her right arm and she had serious abrasions her shin bone
as well as blood pooling on her right hip. Peggy first said that Nina
had been hurt by falling down the stairs:
"The mother of the
victim stated the child had feel down the stairs, the child was not
The family then got in their vehicle and drove from North Carolina to
of the child stated the child threw up two times while they were en
route to Virginia"
It was four days later when Peggy finally admitted that she had become
angry with Nina and told of how she had beaten her and caused her
injuries. A nonprofit group called Shaken Baby Prevention was formed by
Catherine Sanders after her own son was injured due to being shaken.
Catherine was upset about what happened to Nina:
"I don't understand why
it still goes on, why people can't control their temper and why
feel they have to put their hands on any child. They should be
prosecutor to the
even if they get on the stand and say they feel remorseful"
Peggy stood in court and tried to speak:
"I'm sorry doesn't even
Peggy was only able to say those few words before she began to mumble
and her Lawyer
took over for her:
"She prepared to make a
statement. The emotion of the event would not allowe her her to do it"
William Stephens said that Peggy was a woman who did not have a
criminal record, was having trouble with depression and an addiction to
alcohol which she had been able to hide from her husband as well as the
fact that she was not bonding with Nina. There had been a medical
evaluation done and it showed that Nina was not someone who was likely
to kill again. William said that Peggy just needed help.
Commonwealth Attorney Paul B. Ebert didn't agree saying:
"Some people you just
Paul told about the injuries to this little Angel, saying that her face
had been bruised as well as her ribs and small intestine, her skull was
fractured and then she died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen, she
had been able to hang on for at least a day with all of those injuries.
Peggy had told Police at that time:
"I hurt Nina. I choked
her and I hit her and hit her"
In May of 2006, Peggy Sue Hilt was 34 years old after she plead guilty
to second degree murder in March and a Prince William Country Judge
sentenced her to 25 years in prison:
"I think your conduct,
at its core, is inexplicable, completely inexplicable. The child's
was not the product of a single act, a single blow. Her injuries were
course of conduct over and extended period of time"
William D. Hamblen
This case was one that
affected other families who wanted to adopt children from Russia which
was going to stop adoptions of Russian children to American families.
Nina was the 14th child from Russia to die after being adopted.
Thanks again to Cat who
won't allow any abused child to to unnoticed.