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Domestic Crimes Examiner
The nanny, YoSelyn Ortega, lay only feet away from the tub slashing her own throat with the same kitchen knife she used to kill 2-year-old Leo Krim and his sister, 6-year-old Lucia Krim. The nanny was trying to kill herself in front of her friend and employer, Marina Krim and the 3-year-old surviving child.
Marina Krim, her husband Kevin Krim, and the NYPD aren’t aware of a possible motive for the slayings.
Reports are coming out now though that the 50-year-old nanny, YoSelyn Ortega, had recently sought psychiatric help and may have been on medication.
The New York Times reported that the NYPD can’t question the nanny at this time. Ortega is in the hospital, in critical condition from her self-inflicted wounds, and is currently in a medically induced coma.
Ortega had been the Krim family nanny for two years and was treated like one of the family. Ortega lived in Harlem with her 3 sisters and one adolescent son.
“We’re just having a really, really hard time here,” Karen Krim said. “We’re all falling apart … It’s the worst nightmare any parent could ever have.”
A nanny accused of killing two children under her care in their Manhattan apartment turned down an offer from a judge on Thursday that would have given her a prison sentence of 30 years to life in return for guilty pleas to both murders.
Justice Gregory Carro told the nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, 53, in State Supreme Court in Manhattan that he would be willing to sentence her to 15 years to life for each murder, with the terms to be served consecutively, if she took responsibility for her acts.
But Ms. Ortega’s lawyer, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg, said her client “doesn’t want to accept this offer at this time.” She said she had discussed the judge’s offer, which had not been made public, several times with her client over the last three months.
A prosecutor, Stuart Silberg, said the Manhattan district attorney’s office did not agree with Justice Carro’s offer. “The people believe the only appropriate sentence is life without parole,” Mr. Silberg said. “The family doesn’t want that to be the disposition.”
Ms. Ortega is accused of stabbing the children, Lucia Krim, 6, and her brother Leo, 2, in their Upper West Side apartment on Oct. 25, 2012, shortly before their mother, Marina Krim, returned from a swimming lesson with her other young daughter.
Credit John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times
Defense lawyers have told the court they intend to use an insanity defense, and Ms. Ortega has been examined by a psychiatric expert. Ms. Van Leer-Greenberg has said Ms. Ortega has delusions, but the nature of her mental illness has not been disclosed.
The case is expected to go to trial later this year, after years of delays to settle questions about the defendant’s mental fitness. Mr. Silberg asked for another delay on Thursday because a psychiatric expert hired to examine Ms. Ortega for the prosecution had quit and a new one had to be found.
“You need to hire someone really quickly,” Justice Carro said, adding he wanted to set a trial date as soon as possible.
On the day of the killing, Ms. Krim returned home in the early evening with her 3-year-old daughter to find her two other children dead from knife wounds, in the bathtub. As Ms. Krim walked into the bathroom, Ms. Ortega plunged a kitchen knife into her own throat, in a suicide attempt, prosecutors say.
According to court papers, Ms. Ortega later told the authorities she had hurt the children because she was having financial problems and was angry with their parents for forcing her to act as a cleaning lady. She said she was being treated for mental illness and had missed a counseling appointment.
The court papers also said she told the authorities that Lucia had tried to fight back before she stabbed her and then killed her brother. She used at least two knives. “Oh my God, I’m sorry,” she said, according to the court papers. “I’m sorry for what I’ve done. Relieve me of my misery.”
Ms. Ortega, a naturalized American citizen from the Dominican Republic, had worked for the Krims for about two years. She had no criminal record. Her relatives and friends, however, have said she showed signs of a mental unraveling before the murders and had sought help from a mental health professional.
Correction: April 18, 2016
An article in some editions on Friday about a decision by a nanny charged with murdering two children under her care to reject a plea deal that would have given her a sentence of 30 years to life in prison omitted the given name of the mother of the slain children. She is Marina Krim.