The fear of letting strangers into your home and around your own children actualized into a very real nightmare in New York City when Yoselyn Ortega, the "killer nanny," murdered two children with a knife and stacked them in a tub while she babysat. On October 25, 2012, Marina Krim returned home to the Upper West Side apartment she shared with her husband and three children — only to find her nanny holding a knife, standing over the corpses of two of her children. The Yoselyn Ortega murders immediately became a sensation across New York City.
Nanny crimes are, unfortunately, far too common, thanks to the relative ease with which someone can get into the trade. Most nannies aren’t looking to do something awful to children, but for the percentage of nannies who do want to get up to no good once inside a home, they can be almost impossible to extricate from one's life. The murders committed by Yoselyn Ortega are truly brutal, and they're causing New York City reconsider its laws regarding tighter regulation of child care references and requiring paid family leave.
Marina Krim remembers the night Yoselyn Ortega murdered two-year-old Leo and six-year-old Lucia Krim as if it was a scene from a "horror movie." While on the stand during her former nanny's trial, Krim said when she arrived at her Upper West Side apartment on October 25, 2012, along with her third child, Nessie, she walked through her dark apartment searching for her children, but the home seemed empty.
The only light in the home came from a bathroom at the end of a long hallway. When Krim reached the door, she found Ortega "all covered in blood" with her eyes "bugged out." Ortega had slit the toddler's neck and stabbed Lucia 22 times; their bodies were floating in a pool of blood in the bathtub. The coroner's report later stated that the children died of exsanguination — a severe loss of blood. "The cuts on their throats were so severe that first responders thought the siblings had been decapitated, said [the] assistant district attorney... in a chilling opening statement," the Straits Times reported.
After murdering the Krim children, Yoselyn Ortega attempted to take her life. When the children's mother entered the bathroom to find Lucia and Leo bleeding out in the bathtub, she reportedly made eye contact with her nanny. Ortega then took the knife she'd just used on the children and plunged it so deeply into her neck, it irreparably damaged her vocal chords, rendering her temporarily mute.
After waking up two days later in a hospital, Ortega used an alphabet board to tell the police what happened. Throughout the initial phase of the investigation, Ortega blamed the Krims for putting unnecessary stress on her, saying, “I had to do everything and take care of the kids.” She also asked to be allowed to die.
According to various testimonials during Yoselyn Ortega's case, despite being a quiet and demure woman in her professional life, the professional nanny was dealing with a series of personal issues, which ultimately pushed her over the edge.
Reports say she was upset about her financial situation, especially after paying out the nose to bring her teenage son to the US and send him to a private school in the Bronx. Her psychologist, Thomas Caffrey, told a jury that Ortega was "certainly distraught," and that "she seemed to have the world on her shoulders.”
Throughout much of Ortega's trial, many predicted she would be locked up for the rest of her life – but the question was whether she would be spending her life in a mental hospital or in a penitentiary. Ortega's defense team didn't deny the nanny murdered the two children, but they argued she couldn't control herself or comprehend the outcome of her actions in the moment.
The former nanny's defense team claimed Ortega suffers from hallucinations — beginning from when she was very young — but pointed out she never discussed them with her psychologist out of fear of being stigmatized. The defense team also claimed their client heard voices telling her to kill, but the prosecution showed the court a video wherein Ortega admitted she never heard voices.
Ali Khadivi, a forensic psychologist, testified: "She said at no point during that day did she experience hallucination or hear any command hallucination to kill and indicated that she was not experiencing being under any control of the Devil."