MANHATTAN — The nanny who allegedly fatally stabbed two of the children she cared for in a luxury Upper West Side building may have recently seen a therapist, police said Friday.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said there was "anecdotal" evidence that Yoselyn Ortega had been seeking help, but did not provide specifics, as the motive for the horrific killings remained a mystery.
Ortega, who neighbors said was deeply religious, allegedly stabbed Lucia and Leo Krim, 6 and 2, to death in the family's West 75th Street apartment before turning the knife on herself Thursday afternoon.
Kelly said that Ortega, who was in critical condition at New York Hospital Friday, had no criminal record or history of mental illness that they had uncovered. There were also no reported domestic incidents at the luxury residence near Central Park South.
Ortega, a native of the Dominican Republic who had been in the United States for 10 years, was referred to the victims' parents by a friend, Kelly said. But that family had no problems with her, he added.
Leo and Lulu's mother, Marina Krim, who is married to CNBC executive Kevin Krim, found her children dead just after 5:30 p.m. Thursday after returning home from swimming lessons with her other daughter, Nessie, 3.
She was supposed to meet Lulu and Ortega at ballet class, but they never showed up. So the concerned mom returned home and made the grisly find.
Around 5 p.m., neighbor Charlotte Friedman said that she rode the elevator with the nanny and the children, who had just returned from Midtown with some packages, and everything seemed OK.
"She [the 6-year-old girl] looked so delightful," said Friedman. "She said she returned from dancing session."
"The nanny was just smiling."
About a half hour later, she saw the Krims' mother with Nessie, in the mezzanine of the building.
"She was bending over the [Nessie], screaming and holding on to [her]," said Friedman. "She was severely traumatized. And those screams were definitely primal screams. They were not even human. They were very deep, dark screams."
Ortega, she said, struck her as being unfriendly.
"She's colder type from most nannies that I have encountered," recalled Friedman. "Coldish. Every time you see a nanny and you said, 'Hi beautiful,' to the children, the nanny often smiles or they act like they receive compliments for the child or something of that nature."
"She was sort of poker face often. You couldn't assess anything from that."
Relatives said that the Krims were close to Ortega and cared for her like family.
"They would give her money for vacation and she would go down to Santo Domingo, where her parents live," said William Krim, 74, Kevin's father, from his home in Camarillo, Calif.
Last year they traveled with Ortega, 50, and met her parents.
"There's a picture of our grandchildren, at least oldest grandchild, standing in front of their house," he said. "I think they even stayed one night there and then went to a resort.
"They had a close relationship with her. This is absolutely unbelievable."
William Krim also said that his son and daughter-in-law were very careful in selecting Ortega, who had been working with them for two and a half years.
"They didn't stand out in front of their apartment and just pick the girl walking down the street. Somebody must have gotten her for them. I knew how close they were with her," he said.
"Something snapped. I wish I knew. But it won't bring the kids back."
Neighbors at Ortega's Harlem apartment said that the former makeup saleswoman looked sick lately.
''She looked physically sick. She was skinny. Her face looked kind of devastated," said Ruben Rivas, 49. "Everybody in the building was talking about her saying, 'Have you seen Josi?
''She looked bad. She looked worn down.''
Rivas said that she was "very religious." "She'd always say 'God bless you. Take care.'"
Maria Lajara, a friend of Ortega's from the Dominican Republic who lives in the Riverside Drive building, said that the nanny came to see her about her son recently.
''A few moths ago, she had asked me to pray for her because she had applied for an apartment in the Bronx," she said. "I think she wanted to move there and bring her son from Santo Domingo.''
But she said that Ortega, who went by the nickname Josi, was happy with her job.
''She was very happy with her job. She showed me a photo of those children. She would always talk about the kids--that they were really good kids and that she loved the mom," she said.
''Josi would take them to the park and spend time with them. She would do extra hours taking care of the kids.''
Ortega was listed in critical but stable condition at New York Hospital and was unable to speak because she had a breathing tube in her throat.
When police found her she was lying face up in the bathroom next to a knife and investigators believe she may have begun to stab herself after the mom walked into the room.
"The children were found in the tub. They were clothed," Kelly said. "We believe now the nanny began to stab herself as the [mother] entered the bathroom."
The building's super held the door to the apartment closed, trapping the nanny, until police arrived after Marina Krim ran screaming into the hallway for help, the super's wife said.
Leo and Lulu Krim were pronounced dead at St. Luke's Hospital, where their mother was taken for trauma.