true crime

In 2012, Marina Krim's two children were murdered by their nanny. This is her life now.

“One minute I was heading over to pick up my daughter Lulu from ballet, the next I was huddled in the back of an ambulance with my only living child.

“Moments earlier, Nessie and I had walked into the horrifying scene of my six-year-old daughter Lulu and two-year-old son Leo dead at the hands of our babysitter.”

These are the opening words of an essay written by Marina Krim, a New York mum who faced the unimaginable on October 25, 2012.

Almost seven years ago, Marina, then 36, left Lulu and Leo at home in the care of their nanny of two years, Yoselyn Ortega, while she took her three-year-old Nessie to a swimming lesson.

It should have been a standard afternoon in the family’s life, but Marina came home to discover Lulu and Leo in the bathtub with stab wounds, and Ortega, fuelled by resentment and struggling with mental health issues, attempting to harm herself on the floor. 

Leo died from a single laceration to his throat, and Lulu, from several defensive wounds. Ortega survived.

Marina’s life would never be the same again; but almost seven years later, she has managed to do the seemingly impossible; she’s found true joy again in her existence. 

That’s partly because she, with husband, Kevin, have since welcomed two baby boys to their family with Nessie; Felix in 2013, and Linus in 2016.

“With each new baby, we feel a special and closer connection to Lulu and Leo, who are a constant presence in their siblings’ looks, gestures and voices,” Kevin wrote in his own 2017 online essay. 

The couple have also found joy through helping others and honouring their children. In 2012, Marina and Kevin started the Lulu & Leo Fund, a charitable organisation for children and families to foster creative pursuits and build resilience through the arts.

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Watch: How Kathy Kelly is coping after losing both her sons. Post continues after video.

“As the parents of Lulu and Leo, we know that art and nature played a critical role in their short, beautiful lives and in the life of our surviving daughter, Nessie,”  Marina and Kevin wrote of the Lulu & Leo Fund‘s core purpose.

“We believe every child on the planet deserves the deep engagement with art, nature, and creativity that our children had.”

But mostly, the joy Marina finds in her life is a result of her deciding to do so, every day. 

Using the hashtag #SeeThePossibilityInEveryMoment, the mother-of-five regularly posts on her Instagram the small wins, the tiny moments of happiness, the simple pleasures, that she chooses to see in her daily life with her family.

The account bursts with positivity, and creativity, and shares the moments which Marina treasures the most; the priceless time with her children.

The photos of everything from the children’s art, to family holidays, to them simply playing with toys, show that Marina is not ‘just’ a grieving mother; but a mum who relishes the chance to be one, and is determined to enjoy her children as much as she can.

Because, of course, she’s learned in the hardest way possible, that life is precious, and can be very unfair – and short.

The determination to appreciate every moment came to Marina from the beginning.

The New York Times reported that at the murder trial, Marina said Ortega had not succeeded in her goal “To destroy what Kevin and I had created and built — an inspired, happy, thriving family”. 

“The defendant may think she destroyed Lulu and Leo,” she continued.

“But she is a failure in this, too.

“Lulu and Leo are powerful forces. They are two stars now, that will always lead us forward.”

But far from talk about her own resilience, Marina credits her daughters as one of her main inspirations; albeit in different ways.

In her 2017 essay, she wrote about the moment she had ‘with’ Lulu on her first Mother’s Day without her.

“On the first Mother’s Day after their death, I had an idea. On our last vacation together, Lulu and I had collected dozens of large sand dollars from the beach. 

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“I spent this Mother’s Day hanging up those sand dollars for display on an empty wall in our apartment. It was a simple way to express myself, feel present, and connect with Lulu and Leo on a really tough day.”

Marina explains it was in that moment that she realised she needed to create the Lulu & Leo foundation.

 

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Just your average Saturday. #ChooseCreativity

A post shared by Lulu & Leo Fund (@lululeofund) on

“Our main initiative—Choose Creativity —reflects the principles behind the way we lived when the kids were alive,” she said. 

“These principles are the foundation of how we were inspired to cope with their loss and how we’ve begun to thrive again.”

Marina has also described Nessie, her “only living child” on that terrible day, as an important role model.

“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.”

And so, watching the daughter that represented life to her, Marina gave herself permission to do the same.

Ortega was finally sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. And although she tried her best to destroy the Krims, it seems that ultimately, Marina is freer than her in every way.

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or struggling with their mental health, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1800 224 636 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. If you are in immediate danger or at risk of self harm, call 000.

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