The nanny who is suspected of killing two young children she cared for has worked for the Upper West Side family for about two years and had no known history of mental illness, police said Friday.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Friday that Yoselyn Ortega, 50, was hired by the Krims to watch their three young children roughly two years ago at the recommendation of another family.
Ortega is suspected of stabbing 2-year-old Leo, who was just learning to walk, and 6-year-old Lucia, lover of "all things princess," before cutting her wrists and neck in the bathroom of the family’s West 75th Street apartment.
Ortega is in critical condition.
Those who know Ortega in the Harlem neighborhood where she lives with her son, her sister and her niece, were in disbelief over what happened.
"I don't believe, personally, that she committed it," said Fernando Nuñez, the maintenance man in Ortega's building. "Who knows if there was another hand? Someone who's wandering around. I don't think she's that kind of person.
Ortega's upstairs neighbor, Epifania Tejada, says Ortega is a very devoted Catholic and the two women would pray together sometimes.
"When we would get together, we would talk about things of God, about family, about her life," she said. "We're praying that she recovers and that everything becomes clear, because I think she could never have done that."
Police have been unable to speak with Ortega, but they say there were no indications from her family or the Krims that anything was amiss.
Ortega, a citizen who has lived in the U.S. for 10 years, and the Krims visited her family’s home in the Dominican Republic in February.
Fred Mogul and Walyce Almeida contributed reporting.