Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Accused Killer Nanny Conscious in Hospital, Not Yet Charged in Deaths of Two Kids

Choosing a nanny is a stressful decision fraught with uncertainty and a smattering of parental guilt. Kevin and Marina Krim thought they had found a decent caregiver in Yoselyn Ortega until last week when Marina came home to find two of her children dead — allegedly at the hands of the woman who had been treated like one of the family.

The 50-year-old Ortega, a naturalized citizen from the Dominican Republic, cared for the Krims’ three children — Lucia, 6; Nessie, 3; and Leo, 2 — for the last two years. Marina Krim’s blog spoke lovingly of their nanny, who they liked so much they even visited her family on a vacation to the Dominican Republic. The blog features photos of Ortega hugging and kissing the Krim children.

By all accounts, there was no friction or outward signs of distress before last Thursday. Marina Krim had taken middle child Nessie to a swimming lesson, and was set to meet Ortega and the other children at a nearby dance studio where Lucia took lessons. When Ortega didn’t show up, Krim returned to the family apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The scene she came home to was truly a parent’s worst nightmare.

Yoselyn Ortega with Lucia Krim. Photo from Marina Krim's blog.

She found Lucia and Leo lying in the bathtub, bleeding profusely from stab wounds. And when Krim saw Ortega, police say the nanny began stabbing herself in the neck and slashing her wrists with a kitchen knife. Paramedics rushed to the scene but not in time to save the two children. Coroners pronounced the children’s deaths due to “multiple stab wounds” to Lucia and “incise wounds of the neck” in Leo’s case.

Ortega remains hospitalized at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She was in a coma but is now reportedly conscious. She is able to speak since a tube in her throat has been removed, but because police have not yet been able to interview her, she has not been charged with the children’s murders. ”We wouldn’t charge a hospitalized suspect under these circumstances until an interview was conducted after consulting with doctors on the subject’s condition,” a police spokesperson told the AP. Forensic testing or Ortega showed no signs of drugs or alcohol.

Subsequent investigation has shown that Ortega’s life was spiralling out of control in ways the Krim family was not aware of. Relatives and neighbors said that Ortega had money troubles and was living in an overcrowded tenement apartment. Juan Pozo, who had previously rented a room in Ortega’s apartment said he had heard Ortega “felt like she was losing her mind.” Several people told police that Ortega had recently been taken to a psychologist.

New Yorkers created a makeshift memorial to the Krim children outside their building, leaving flowers and stuffed animals. And while the Krims haven’t made any public statements since the killings, friends of Kevin Krim reportedly received a text message from the grieving father that read: “Thanks for your concern. Nessie woke up this morning and is doing fine. We’re obviously heartbroken.”

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