NEW YORK – The nightmarish case of a nanny accused of stabbing to death two children in her care stunned the family’s well-to-do neighborhood and caused legions of parents to wonder how well they know who is watching their kids.
The nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, lay in critical condition Friday with what police said were self-inflicted knife wounds, and investigators were unable to question her, in part because she still was breathing with the help of a tube.
Her motive and mental state remained a mystery, and no immediate charges were filed.
On Thursday evening, the children’s mother, Marina Krim, brought her 3-year-old daughter home from a swim lesson to find her other children, ages 2 and 6, dying of knife wounds in the bathtub of their Upper West Side apartment near Central Park. Ortega then turned the blade on herself, police said.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the investigation has yet to reveal anything amiss in the household before the slayings.
Police were looking into whether Ortega, a 50-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen who had worked for the family for two years, had recently sought psychiatric help.
If there was tension between the nanny and the Krims, it didn’t show on a Web journal kept by the children’s mother.
Marina Krim spoke lovingly in one entry about traveling to the Dominican Republic last February to stay for several days at the home of Ortega’s sister.
There are tens of thousands of nannies working in New York City, but reports of serious violence by caregivers against children are exceedingly rare. Parents are accused of killing their own children with far more frequency.