Back in 2012, a mother’s worst nightmare came true. New York mum Marina Krim found her two beloved children, aged just six and one-and-a-half years old, dead in the bathtub of their apartment. The gruesome murder had been committed by none other than their childminder. The nanny murdered children by slashing their throats and stabbing them to death.
On Thursday March 1, 2018, Marina Krim had to re-live that nightmare as she came face to face with the nanny responsible for the brutal murder of her two small children.
Yoselyn Ortega, the former nanny, is facing murder charges for slicing the victims’ throats and leaving them to bleed out in the bathtub.
On the second day of Ortega’s trial, Marina testified against Ortega, 55, who stabbed Lulu, six, and 20-month-old Leo to death.
Struggling nanny murdered children
Under cross-examination by Ortega’s lawyer, Krim said on Friday that Ortega had been acting strangely in the months before the killing on Oct. 25, 2012.
But Krim said she attributed the behaviour to Ortega’s struggling with providing for her own son. Ortega had recently moved from the Dominican Republic to live with her, and she was about to lose her apartment.
“I knew that she was going through a rough period,” Krim told the defense lawyer, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg. “She was not quite, she was just not her normal self.”
Nanny murdered children under psychological stress
Ortega is charged with first-degree murder and second-degree murder, and her trial, in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, is expected to last several weeks.
Ortega, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, faces life in prison if convicted; if acquitted on an insanity defense, she could be committed to a psychiatric facility.
According to police, Krim saw Ortega stab herself in the throat when she entered the bathroom.
Ortega allegedly confessed to the murders while she was in the hospital recovering from her stab wounds, the New York Times reports.
“You don’t know what they put me through,” she allegedly told officers during questioning.
Nanny murdered children out of spite
In opening statements on Thursday, prosecutors said that Ms. Ortega resented Ms. Krim, and that the children were killed as a calculated act of spite against her.
On Thursday, in her first day of testimony, Ms. Krim recounted how she had discovered the horrific scene in the family’s apartment on West 75th Street after learning that Lulu had never made it to dance class.
She found her children stacked in a bathtub with their eyes open and blood all over their bodies, then watched in horror with her three-year-old daughter, Nessie, as Ms. Ortega plunged a knife into her own neck.
Security unaware nanny murdered children
On Friday, Thomas Brown, a security guard who was working in Krim’s apartment building, said that Ms. Ortega had never spoken to him before the day she killed the children.
That day, as he was preparing for his shift to end at 4 p.m., she approached his desk in the lobby and asked in broken English whether Ms. Krim was home. He told her that he had just seen Ms. Krim leave with Nessie. Ms. Ortega then went to the elevator with Lulu and Leo in tow, and he never saw them again.
“It was a shock to me that she said anything,” he said.
Ms. Krim returned to the apartment around 5:10 p.m. and searched for her children. Glenn Looby, who had replaced Mr. Thomas, was in the lobby when she called from a landing outside the family’s apartment, asking if he had seen her children.
When he said he had not, she went back up to the apartment. A few minutes later, he said, she came out screaming about her children being murdered and he called 9-1-1.
Obedient nanny murdered children
Over the two and a half years that Ms. Ortega worked for the family, Ms. Krim said on Friday, there were other times when she thought Ms. Ortega was acting oddly. She had considered firing the nanny, but ultimately decided against it.
“There was nothing to fire her over,” she said. “[Ortega] was on time every day. She was interacting with the kids. She was doing most of her job.”
After the cross-examination had concluded, Stuart Silberg, an assistant district attorney, asked Ms. Krim if she thought she had missed any warning signs. Ms. Krim asked for a break.
She returned, and finished her testimony describing how Ms. Ortega had reacted to a pregnancy that ended in miscarriage. When Ms. Van Leer-Greenberg objected to Ms. Krim’s testimony about the miscarriage, Ms. Krim shouted, “Let me finish telling my story!”
Nanny murdered children, “evil”
Ms. Ortega, she said, had been jubilant when told the Krims were expecting a fourth child. But when she was told of the miscarriage months later, she showed no sympathy.
“She didn’t say anything,” Ms. Krim said. “[Ortega] didn’t give me a hug. She gave me no emotion at all. She actually looked mad at me.”
As Ms. Krim spoke, Ms. Ortega, sitting a few feet away, looked down at her lap and shook her head.
Soon, Ms. Krim told Mr. Silberg that she had enough. As she left the witness stand, escorted by court officers, she raged at Ms. Ortega.
“You’re evil!” she shouted. “You’re evil! And you like this. You’re getting pleasure.”
Justice Gregory Carro reminded jurors that the mother’s outburst was not evidence.
Life goes on after nanny murdered children
When the prosecution tried to move on, Krim left the room shouting and did not return, leading the prosecuting lawyers to call another witness in what is expected to be a three-month trial.
Marina Krim’s husband, Kevin, is a former CNBC executive now at a startup. They use a Facebook page to post updates on how they are doing, writing about the arrival of two new children, Felix born in 2013 and Linus in 2016.
The couple started the Lulu & Leo Fund, which aims to inspire, heal, and teach children through innovative art programs, nature and creativity.
They recently posted a video message on Facebook asking that people mention the fund as their case becomes news again.
We can’t even begin to imagine this mum’s emotions when she discovered her two sweet and innocent angels murdered in cold blood.
If there is a lesson to be learned from this case, it is to never doubt your gut feelings. Marina mentioned the nanny was behaving strangely and that she even wanted to fire her (but didn’t). That was her mum instinct speaking.
If you suspect your helper is not quite herself or is acting strangely, don’t wait it out. Act on your instinct and if need be, let her go. Nothing is worth risking the lives of loved ones.
Sources: CBS New York, New York Times, The Straits Times, Lulu & Leo Fund
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