The older sister of the New York City nanny accused of murdering two siblings in her care took the stand on Monday and blamed the victims’ parents for their deaths.
Miladys Garcia, 64, told the jury about a bizarre phone call she had with her younger sister, Yoselyn Ortega, 55, about five hours before the fatal stabbings.
She said her sister didn’t say much on the phone before she hung up, but she could hear her ‘gnashing’ her teeth and felt she knew something was wrong.
‘The way I spoke to her, I know her voice,’ Garcia said. ‘It was like I was talking to a demon. She had become something evil.’
Ortega is currently on trial for the October 2012 murders of siblings Lucia and Leo Krim.
Miladys Garcia (left, on Monday), the sister Yoselyn Ortega (right, on March 2), the New York nanny on trial for murdering two kids in her charge, took the stand on Monday
The children were six and two years old respectively when their mother came home and found them stabbed to death in a bathtub of their Upper West Side apartment.
The Dominican nanny stabbed herself in the neck just as the children’s mother was coming in the door but she survived her injuries.
Ortega has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
In the weeks leading up the murders, Garcia says her sister complained about ‘a black man’ who was trying to ‘separate the families’.
She says her sister first started having these hallucinations back in 2008, following the suicide of a close family friend.
Garcia, who lives in the Dominican Republic, says she told her sister to go see a priest of a therapist, but says she never followed up with family members in New York to check in on her sister.
Garcia said she had a bizarre phone call with her sister about five hours before Ortega stabbed siblings Lucia, age 6 (right), and Leo Krim, age two (left), to death
When asked why she didn’t warn the victims’ parents, Kevin and Marina Krim (pictured above), Garcia said the couple should have seen something was wrong with her sister themselves
When asked why she didn’t call to warn her sister’s bosses, Kevin and Marina Krim, Garcia said it was their fault for not seeing how troubled her sister was – suggesting that if they had given her some time off they may have prevented the murders.
‘Why didn’t those parents realize and take her out themselves — they were seeing it,’ Garcia said.
‘So the Krims should have seen her unraveling and given her vacation, is that what you’re saying?’ Assistant District Attorney Stuart Silberg asked.
‘Yes, because they were the ones seeing her,’ Garcia replied. ‘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 added: ‘I wasn’t seeing her. I was hearing it over the phone. I didn’t think it was that serious.’
Kevin Krim was in court on Monday and appeared angered at times during the testimony. When Garcia blamed him and his wife, who was not in court, he was seen closing his eyes and bowing his head, according to the New York Post.
Ortega was working part time as the Krim’s nanny at the time of the murders, aiding stay-at-home mom Marina Krim.
Earlier in the day, Garcia spoke about how much her sister adored the Krim children, saying they were like her own children.
‘She adored them. She would say, “I have four children now,”‘ Garcia said.
Kevin Krim was in court for Garcia’s testimony on Monday and looked angry at points. He’s pictured above outside the courtroom on Monday. His wife did not attend the proceedings
Also on Monday, one of Ortega’s friends spoke about her odd behavior in the lead up to the murders.
Raquel Perez said Ortega once collapsed on the couch sobbing and she would cry regularly when they met up various times in September and October.
Perez said on one occasion she made Ortega a plate of food after she started crying but the nanny started repeatedly stabbing at it with her knife and court.
‘I asked her what was wrong, why she was crying,’ Perez said with the help of a Spanish interpreter, the New York Post reported.
‘She told me “nothing”.’
Perez told the court that Ortega had never mentioned hearing voices and said she loved the two children.
Photos of the bloodied knives used in the attack were shown to jurors earlier in the trial
‘She would tell me that she loved them very much, that they were good kids, that they were very intelligent,’ Perez told jurors.
Dr Susan Ely, a city medical examiner, had previously told the court of the gruesome injuries inflicted on the children when they were brutally stabbed to death.
One female juror was left shaking after she heard how Ortega cut Leo’s eck with a kitchen knife, leaving a 1.5-inch deep wound in the neck.
Leo had been stabbed so many times that he had no blood left in his body when he ended up on the autopsy table.
Another juror shook as the jury was shown a diagram of Lucia’s body, showing how Ortega sliced and stabbed the girl 30 times on her head, neck, torso, arms and hands.
Her brother Leo had six wounds to his neck.
Jurors also saw photos of the apartment after the children’s murders in October 2012. The Krims immediately moved out
Ely said both children suffered horribly before they died because it took them several minutes to bleed out.
‘They didn’t die initially. Only some of [the knife wounds] were fatal. That takes an order of minutes, not seconds,’ Ely said.
‘Bleeding to death takes minutes.’
Earlier in the case, the court heard what Ortega first told police as she recovered in the hospital, using her statement to complain about the cleaning duties she’d been asked to perform in the Krim home.
Two days after the attack, shackled to a hospital bed and with a tube down her throat, she dictated statements to NYPD Sgt. Yoel Hidalgo, using an alphabet board.
She said: ‘I had to do everything and take care of the kids. I worked as a babysitter only and she wanted me to do everything. She wanted five hours of cleaning every week.’
Ortega also said she didn’t want to clean, ‘because of soap’. Hidalgo told jurors she pointed to her pinky finger after making this statement.
In the days before the killings, Marina said Ortega had shown her a bleach burn on her pinky finger. Marina went out and bought natural cleaning products, she testified in court last week.
She also said she paid Ortega $100 extra per week for the five hours of cleaning.
Kevin and Marina Krim, the parents of the children, recorded a video last month, shortly before Ortega went on trial.
The couple asked that with their case coming up in the news again, that people promote the foundation they started in honor of their slain children, the Lulu and Leo Fund, which aims to support innovative art programs for children.
Since the death of their two eldest children, the couple have gone on to have two more kids, Felix, born in 2013, and Linus, born in 2016.