July 16, 2024

A Florida mother has been sentenced to 21 life terms in prison plus 800 years after being convicted of “evil and horrific” sex crimes against her children.

In 2022, Assistant State Attorney Katy Reid said then-26-year-old Natalie Wagner recorded videos of herself committing sex acts with her children, aged one and three. Reid said she would sell the videos for up to $US50 ($75) on the social media app Snapchat to users, making specific requests about what they wanted to see.

“She was their mother. I mean, she was the one person who should have made sure this never happened to them,” Reid said.

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The investigation started when Reid said two complaints were made to Snapchat that someone, who ended up being Wagner, was advertising that they were having sex with their children. Snapchat sent the information to the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, which tracked an IP address to the city of Port St Lucie in southern Florida.

Police investigated searching her home and phone. They found disturbing evidence including more than 20 explicit videos, some of which also included the family dog.

They also uncovered Snapchat messages showing Wagner discussing transmitting the videos.

“Some of the things she’s telling people are, ‘Make sure you don’t save this. You have to delete this’,” Reid said.

“She would be asked to do horrendous things to her three-year-old, she would do it, she would transmit the video and get their response of how pleased they were with what she did.”

Wagner was charged and convicted on more than 80 criminal counts ranging from incest, use of a child in sexual performance and transmitting child pornography.

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“[She was] financially struggling. But the fact that she was selling them for next to nothing, she must have been getting some kind of satisfaction from this,” Reid said.

In most cases involving crimes against children, Reid said prosecutors will often offer plea deals to defendants to keep the children from having to go through a trial. This case was different, Reid said.

“Absolutely no deal for this woman. She needed to be locked away and throw away the key, essentially,” Reid said.

The judge handed down the maximum possible sentence.

“It’s disturbing she would give away her children’s innocence for 10 bucks,” Reid added.

Reid also says the people requesting the videos will be investigated.

Now, the focus turns to making sure the children’s future is not forever impacted by this horrific past.

Reid said both children are with new caretakers; the three-year-old has gone through counselling, and Reid hopes the one-year-old is too young to ever know what they went through.

Reid also said the sentence applies only to the crimes against the three-year-old. Wagner is still facing charges related to alleged crimes against the one-year-old, meaning her sentence could become even longer if convicted again.

Wagner’s husband is also facing charges. Wagner told investigators she hid what she was doing from her husband, which Reid said appeared to be true, but they still charged him for failing to protect his children.

Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

For under 25s: Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

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