The recent news headlines have been haunting me like a horrible nightmare I can’t escape even with my eyes wide open. Sandy is on a rampage and my eyes are glued to CNN, but my mind is lost in another horror story. My mind is lost in the story of a mother who trusted Yoselyn Ortega with her most precious cargo, her children.
Yesterday at the park, one of my mommy friends mentioned the story of the Krims in Manhattan, a husband and wife with three children, ages 2, 3 and 6. Kevin Krim is an executive at CNBC and the mother is a pediatrician, who I believe took some time off to care for her three children.
Marina Krim is a blogger, just like many of my new friends. She shared pictures of her family and told stories about their milestones as they passed. She could have been someone I carried on daily conversations with on Twitter. She was someone who loved her life and wanted to share it with the world.
As many parents do, they hired a nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, who has a son of her own. The Krims must have had a decent relationship with Yoselyn, because they stayed with her family in the Dominican Republic, while vacationing. Maybe the kids even grew to love her.
Last week, Mrs. Krim took her 3-year-old son to swim practice and told Yoselyn to meet her there with the two other children. They didn’t arrive, so she went back to their apartment building to see what had delayed them. When she arrived at the apartment, the lights were off and it appeared that no one was home.
(WARNING: The following details are graphic in nature) She went to the doorman and asked him if Yoselyn had left with the two kids and he said, “no”. She went back into the apartment and opened the bathroom door. There in the bathtub were her two children with their throats slit. Two babies only 2 and 6. Yoselyn then slit her own wrists and throat in front of Mrs. Krim and her three-year-old daughter. Neighbors heard blood-curdling screams coming from the apartment.
They rushed all three kids to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Yoselyn has recently woken up and been charged with the murders of the two children. I can’t type their names because it’s too painful. Mrs. Krim was an innocent mother, just like me. Just like any of the moms I know and care about.
Mr. Krim was greeted at the airport by police, who informed him of the horrible incident. Mrs. Krim was sedated at the hospital. Yoselyn SURVIVED. Two babies are dead. The story is haunting and will repeat in my nightmares for weeks to come. For Mrs. Krim, it will be a constant never-ending act of torture.
As mothers we are naturally indoctrinated into a club of maternal empathy and sympathy. Whether we can understand, firsthand, what another mother is going through, offering empathy, or we can at least grasp the breadth of another mother’s pain and suffering, offering sympathy.
As Sandy hit, I thought of Mrs. Krim, possibly sitting in the dark in a hospital room clinging to her only daughter and husband. I thought of the journey she will face ahead. She will need to pick herself up and live, if not only for her three-year-old daughter. I thought of the questions she’s probably repeating in her mind. What if I had arrived at the apartment earlier? What if I had kept looking the first time I walked in? Would my babies still be alive? Did my babies suffer?
So many questions flood my mind. Yoselyn’s sister said she was acting strangely before the murders. Why didn’t she act upon it? Why did she let her sister care for someone else’s babies, if she was acting erratically?
Have toxicology reports been released for Yoselyn Ortega? Were any drugs or alcohol found in her system? What drove her to such madness? She woke today. What has she had to say for herself? Was she hired by an agency? If so, how can they improve the screening process, if at all? Will the three-year-old have memories of the murders of her siblings?
This is a tragedy no mother will ever forget.