Yoselyn Ortega, 55, was convicted of murdering the Krim children

By Nicole Weisensee Egan
April 19, 2018 12:04 PM
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Ed. Note: On Wednesday, a New York City nanny was convicted of murdering two children she cared for by stabbing them with a kitchen knife in the bathtub of their apartment in 2012.

Yoselyn Ortega had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murders of Lulu and Leo Krim, 6 and 2. But during closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Stuart Silberg told the jury, “She did it intentionally with a full understanding of exactly what it was she was doing — every stab, every slash.”

PEOPLE has covered the tragedy from the beginning. Below is PEOPLE’s story originally published Nov. 6, 2014, more than two years after the Oct. 25, 2012, slayings, about how Marina and Kevin Krim were healing from their trauma.

Marina and Kevin Krim have created the Lulu & Leo Fund, a non-profit organization that aims to inspire, heal and grow children through engagement with art, nature and creativity.

On Oct. 25, 2012 – the darkest night of her life – Marina Krim was desperate for answers.

After picking up her daughter Nessie, 3, from a swimming lesson earlier that day, she’d returned home to a horrific scene at the Manhattan apartment she shared with her husband, Kevin, and their three children.

Credit: Heidi Green

Lulu, 6, and Leo, 20 months, had been stabbed to death, allegedly by their part-time nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, who slashed her own throat before collapsing.

“I was sitting in the hospital, Nessie clinging to my chest,” Marina, 38, said in a rare public speech Wednesday evening, “and I was asking over and over to anybody who would listen, ‘What am I supposed to do tomorrow? How do I do this? What do we do?’ ”

It was an unanswerable question.

“The hospital workers looked at me with a blank stare,” she said at a benefit in New York City for the Lulu & Leo Fund, formed in the wake of the tragedy and named in honor of her two children, who loved arts and crafts.

“A few days later, Kevin and I met some of the top psychiatrists in New York City, and they didn’t have a reassuring answer for us either,” she said.

“People often told us ‘Time will heal’ – that seemed more than a little daunting,” she said. “There was no obvious path for us, no manual with step-by-step directions about how to deal with a blow like this, no teacher telling us what to do.”

So the Krims had to find their own way out of their grief – and they did.

In November 2012, they created the Lulu & Leo Fund, which brings arts and science programs to disadvantaged children.

Last year alone they served 2,300 children, Kevin Krim said at the event, and hope to double that number in 2015.

“This is a celebration,” Kevin, 40, an executive at CNBC Digital, told the crowd at the sold-out fundraiser. “This is a night of fun. A night of creativity. It is inspired by the beautiful and too-brief lives of Lulu and Leo.”

Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“It’s that inspiration of their lives that motivates us,” he said. “We want to bring what they had to children and families who don’t have enough.”

The fund has given out four multi-year grants so far. The most recent recipient is Sing for Hope, a charity that has 1,500 volunteer artists who performed two songs at the event.

Children from low-income families are 50 percent less likely to participate in arts programs than those from affluent families, Kevin said, and students without art education are five times more likely to drop out of school.

“We need you all to believe in our mission,” he said.

Nessie herself also helped lift them out of their grief, Marina said, and inspired their SuperArtist program.

“I remember looking at our daughter Nessie in the darkest days and I so admired her ability to just live in the present,” Marina said, “seeing the world just as one should. To me, it seemed like she had all the answers.”

“Though she missed her siblings, she was laughing and enjoying herself and making every heartbroken person in the room smile,” she said. “She wanted to draw and collect and make things.”

“It was this idea – the idea of seeing and connecting to the world as a young child does – that guided us through the darkest days and is the true inspiration behind SuperArtist.”

Last October, the Krims welcomed a new baby to the family: Felix.

Ortega, 52, has pleaded not guilty to the crimes and is currently incarcerated while awaiting trial, which has not yet been scheduled.