Now that Yoselyn Ortega, New York's so-called "Killer Nanny," is well enough to speak after stabbing two children in her care to death before stabbing herself, she has officially been charged with two counts of murder. Unfortunately for media outlets who have thus far reveled in the alarmist "Killer Nanny" tales, the story emerging from the Ortega killings is less about an evil nanny and more about a sick, sad, increasingly stressed middle-aged lady who wasn't getting the help she needed and snapped in one of the most hideous ways imaginable.
In the immediate aftermath of 2-year-old Leo Krim and 6-year-old Lucia Krim's murders, it came to light that Ortega's friends and family had noticed for months that the 50-year-old was steadily unraveling.
The NYPD's chief spokesman, Paul Browne, said family members told police that Ortega "over the last couple of months was not herself," and noted that there were reports she had been seeking professional help.
Juan Pozo, a former neighbor, who spoke to Ortega's sister on Friday, said that, lately, "(Ortega) felt like she was losing her mind." He also said she had seen a psychologist recently.
Besides her mental health woes, in recent months, Ortega had been kicked out of a Bronx apartment she'd been renting from an acquaintance when said acquaintance returned from the Dominican Republic. Ortega was then forced to move with her 17-year-old son into her sister and niece's apartment in a tenement building in Hamilton Heights. The super for the Hamilton Heights building told the New York Times that Ortega was especially sad about having to leave the Bronx apartment because she'd sunk a lot of money into maintaining it.
Augmenting Ortega's financial woes, according to new reporting, is that the Krim family was apparently threatening to fire her because of a growing tension concerning extra work Ortega didn't want to do—work she claims prevented her from attending "doctor's appointments"—and Ortega's deteriorating job performance:
In Ortega's brief statement to police, she said her employers had arranged to give her an extra five hours a week in housekeeping work to help her make more money, law-enforcement sources told the Post.
'They were asking her to clean and do housework and she was unhappy because it interfered with her doctor's appointments.'
It was also revealed today that Marina and Kevin Krim were worried about Ortega's job performance in the weeks leading up to the October 25 slaying and had told her that if she didn't improve her job performance they might need to replace her.
A law-enforcement source told the Post: 'She was told that if she didn't improve her work, she would be let go.'
The story of what happened in the lead-up to Yoselyn Ortega allegedly killing two innocent children is still one full of holes, conjecture, and angry speculation. But it's pretty clear that the "cold" killer nanny narrative going around is reductionist to the point of being inaccurate. Ortega seems to be a sick woman who did a very awful thing that probably could have been prevented with proper medical care. Calling her anything but adds even more toxicity to an already bleak tragedy.
[Image of Yoselyn Ortega, at right, in happier times in the Dominican Republic - via AP]