Yoselyn Ortega, the New York nanny charged with the murders of two Upper West Side children she cared for, denied playing any part in their deaths in an exclusive interview. Ortega, 50, who pleaded not guilty to the charges in November, maintains that someone else murdered 6-year-old Lucia Krim and 2-year-old Leo Krim.
In an interview with the New York Daily News from her jail cell on Rikers Island, Ortega said she was innocent of the charges against her. “I didn’t do that,” Ortega said. “Someone else did.”
Ortega reportedly became silent when a reporter asked if she had loved the children, abruptly cutting off the conversation. “My lawyer told me not to talk,” Ortega said, getting up and walking away. “I’m not supposed to say anything.”
Ortega’s comments marked the first time she has spoken publicly since the brutal double murders on Oct. 25 that shocked the city. Ortega’s employer Marina Krim came home to find the bodies of her daughter and son Lucia and Leo, stabbed in a bathtub.
Krim had returned to the apartment after Ortega failed to show up to a dance lesson for Lucia. Thinking she might have missed Ortega, Krim and her younger daughter Nessie went back to their apartment building, where a doorman told them that he had seen Ortega and the other children arrive, but not leave the building. New York police said that when Marina Krim discovered the grisly scene, Ortega began stabbing herself in the neck.
Lucia and Leo were rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital, where they were both pronounced dead upon arrival. Ortega was also taken to another hospital, where she was sedated and intubated. Friends and relatives said the Krims had treated Ortega “like family,” and even traveled to the Dominican Republic to meet Ortega’s family.
But others painted a picture of a woman whose life was coming apart at the seams. Juan Pozo, a 67-year-old limousine driver who at one time rented a room in Ortega’s Hamilton Heights apartment, said Ortega's life had become chaotic lately. Pozo said that he had spoken with Ortega’s sister, Celia, who told him that Ortega had been unraveling and “that she felt like she was losing her mind.”
“They were asking her to clean, to do housework. She was unhappy about that,” a law enforcement official told the New York Times. Another source close to the situation told the Post that the Krims had recently complained to Ortega about her work performance. “She was told that if she didn’t improve her work, she would be let go,” the source said.
Ortega has been indicted on counts of first and second degree murder in the deaths of the two children. "This crime shocked and horrified parents around the city, many of whom entrust their children to the care of others both by necessity and by choice," District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said. "My heart goes out to the family of those beautiful young children, and I hope that, with time, this family will heal."
Marina and Kevin Krim recently announced on their Facebook page that they are expecting another child.