The sister of a New York nanny charged with killing two children in her care in 2012 claimed Tuesday that it sounded like her sibling was talking to a “demon” when the two spoke.
During cross-examination at Manhattan Supreme Court, Miladys Garcia stated that her sister, Yoselyn Ortega, exhibited odd behavior on a phone call hours before the alleged incident.
Ortega, 55, is accused of first-degree murder for the stabbings of Lulu Krim, 6, and her brother Leo, 2, in the bathroom of the family’s Manhattan apartment on Oct. 25, 2012. The children’s mother, Marina Krim, reportedly came home to find her two children dead.
Ortega has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
“The way I spoke to her, I know her voice,” Garcia said of Ortega. “It was like I was talking to a ‘demon.’ She had become something evil.”
Garcia said that she had urged Ortega to seek help from a priest or a psychiatrist, adding that her sister abruptly ended the call and mentioned hearing voices from a “black man.”
Garcia also stated that the victim’s parents were to blame for not noticing a change in the nanny’s demeanor. “I just think ‘why didn’t those parents realize and take them out (themselves)?’ They were seeing it,” she said.
Garcia said that the parents should have granted her sister time away from work.
“Give her a vacation if you see she’s losing weight, say ‘Yosie, you’re not yourself.’ Even a week of vacation. Say, ‘Go, Yosie, you’re very thin,’” she said.
Defense attorney Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg said Ortega suffered from a severe mental illness that went undiagnosed in her home county and that she was “guarded in her symptoms” and “reluctant to seek care.”
Prosecutors believe the nanny premeditated the killing, grabbed two knives from the kitchen and waited until the victim’s parents exited the apartment. Lucia suffered roughly 30 stab wounds while Leo had five, according to the Associated Press.
If convicted, Ortega could face up to life in prison.