UPPER WEST SIDE — Detectives can't question the nanny who allegedly stabbed two small children to death because she's in a catatonic state, DNAinfo has learned.
Yoselyn Ortega, who allegedly used a kitchen knife to kill two of the children she cared for and then tried to slash her own throat, is completely silent and unresponsive — and doctors don't know why, sources said.
Ortega allegedly stabbed 2-year-old Leo Krim and 6-year-old Lucia Krim, known as Lulu, in the bathtub of the family's West 75th Street apartment on Thursday about 5:30 p.m. The children's mother, Marina Krim, discovered the horrific crime as she returned home with her third child, 3-year-old Nessie.
Ortega, who suffered a serious self-inflicted neck wound, was rushed to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in critical condition, where she was put under anesthesia so doctors could treat her. Police say she was in an induced coma at one
point, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said she was not anymore.
When the anesthesia wore off, doctors expected her to return to normal and be lucid enough to speak with them and the police. Instead, they've got a medical mystery on their hands, sources said. Ortega, 50, isn't speaking or responding to anyone or anything.
Ortega's neck wound isn't severe enough to cause the catatonic state, because the gash didn't hit any major veins or arteries. She's not on any medications that would render her non-responsive, and toxicology tests have turned up negative, dispelling reports that she may have taken pills, sources said.
Her psychological state prior to the stabbings remains unclear. A neighbor told police that Ortega mentioned in passing that she was considering seeing a therapist, friends told police.
Ortega, 50, who was having financial troubles, had been unraveling in recent months "and was not herself," police said.
Neighbors at her Hamilton Heights apartment building told the NY Times that Ortega's demeanor had changed recently.
Juan Pozo, 67, who had once rented a room from her, said Ortega's sister reported the nanny said “she felt like she was losing her mind,” he told the paper.
Investigators believe that Ortega forced the two children, who were fully clothed, into the bathtub at knifepoint from another part of the house, sources said. The Medical Examiner's office said Friday that the cause of death for 6-year-old Lulu was stab and slash wounds, and that 2-year-old Leo died as a result of slash wounds to his neck. When the childrens' mother arrived home and found Ortega in the bathroom, the nanny started to slit her throat, Kelly said Saturday, adding that she also had marks on her wrists.
Kelly said Ortega was on a ventilator, but remained unable to speak.
Cops are looking for the biological father of Ortega's teenage son, sources said. The father doesn't live with Ortega and her 16-year-old son in the apartment she shares with a sister, reports said.
A neighbor said Ortega had moved from the Manhattan building into a Bronx apartment after a friend moved to the Dominican Republic and left it to her, the NY Times reported, only to kick her out after the person moved back.
She couldn't raise enough additional money on the side selling jewelry and cosmetics to pay for another apartment fo her and her son, police said, and had moved back in with her sister on Riverside Drive.
Sources say Marina Krim is "devastated" by the loss of her two children. Ortega had worked for the Krims for two and a half years, and the Krims had even visited Ortega's family in the Dominican Republic, according to an online diary Marina Krim kept.