NEW YORK – The father of two young children who were killed by their nanny has described the harrowing moment he learned of their deaths just after his plane landed and how he said goodbye to them.
Kevin Krim told jurors in the trial of Yoselyn Ortega on Tuesday that when he switched off the airplane mode function on his cellphone at John F. Kennedy International Airport he was flooded with text messages from concerned neighbors and friends. He said he was trying to figure it out and "fumbling around" when a flight attendant asked him to go to the cockpit.
"It's the worst thing imaginable. I was hoping it was a nightmare, and it wasn't," said Krim, recalling that he sat down in the galley after getting a call from his father-in-law.
He said two plainclothes police officers had to pick him up off the floor, somebody grabbed him by the arm and somebody grabbed his bag. He said he kept asking "What's going on?" and then saw there was a voicemail from his wife, Marina Krim.
"I pressed play to listen to it, and I just heard the background noise of screaming," he testified. "I crumbled to the ground."
Krim said he was taken to a hospital, where he was reunited with his frantic wife, who had found the children's bodies in their blood-spattered Manhattan apartment.
"I was crying. I was kind of flailing about because I didn't want people touching me," he testified. "No one seemed to know much of the details, but they said it was the baby sitter who killed them."
Ortega has pleaded not guilty in the fatal stabbings of 2-year-old Leo Krim and 6-year-old Lucia Krim, known as Lulu, in October 2012. Her lawyers don't dispute that she killed the children but say she's too mentally ill to be responsible for what she did. They have said the slayings were an act of madness.
Krim's testimony Tuesday brought tears to the jurors and people seated in the courtroom gallery as he described saying goodbye to his children.
"Lulu and Leo were lying on hospital tables, sheets up to their chins. They looked beautiful and strange. They had lost a lot of blood, so they were blue. But they still had this perfect skin, the long eye lashes," Krim said tearfully. "I knelt down, and I kissed them, and I said goodbye."