After NYC Nanny Murders, Parents Wonder How to Trust Again

How much can you trust your nanny?

ByABC News
October 26, 2012, 11:22 AM

Oct. 26, 2012— -- Parents from around the country are horrified by the news in New York City that a nanny, entrusted with the care of three children, allegedly stabbed two of them to death Thursday, then reportedly attempted to take her own life.

The children's mother, Marina Krim, returned to her luxury apartment with her 3-year old daughter Nessie after a swim lesson to find her 6-year-old daughter Lucia and 1-year-old son Leo bleeding to death in the bathtub.

The nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, a woman in her 50s who had worked for the family for more than a year, stabbed herself in front of the mother, according to New York City police.

Neighbors heard the screams of the 34-year-old mother, "You slit her throat."

Relatives of the nanny said she had worked for the Krims for more than a year and they had been careful hiring her. The Krims had even visited Ortega's family in the Dominican Republic.

Neighbor Marcellina Lovera told today, "I knew them for more than 20 years. And she's really nice. I'm in shock. It's out of this world. There was nothing to make me think she would do this. Nothing."

Every day working parents entrust their children to the care of others in day care centers, in the homes of babysitters and in their own homes with nannies. Today they are wondering how a parent could possibly know if their child is in the hands of someone who is mentally unstable.

"This is beyond devastating and a nightmare," said Denise Albert, the mother of two boys who lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, near where the murders took place in a doorman apartment. "We walked by last night – it was in our neighborhood, close to home … There are no words."

Albert, co-creator of The Moms, a website that caters to parenting, is familiar with what she calls "nanny drama," when her children were younger. Albert, 38, fired a nanny after being with the family for more than three years.

"Two other nannies said they couldn't lie for her anymore about where she was taking our son every day," she said. Albert's nanny wasn't truthful about where she was during the day with the child.

Now Albert uses college-age babysitters.

"The big problem is there isn't enough vetting," she said. "In the past, I always used word of mouth. Parents in the neighborhood never went to an agency. I've gone through references, but if someone worked for someone for five years, that sounded good to me."

"It's a real problem – and a daily conversation for working parents who are watching this story. What are we supposed to do?" said Albert. "I am sure this family never had reason to believe they couldn't trust this person. It's like school shootings, you drop your kids off at school and expect them to be safe."

Ron Book, a Miami lawyer, did all the right things when he hired a nanny from an agency more than a decade ago. But for six years the nanny, Waldina Flores, sexually molested his young daughter Lauren from the time she was 11.

"For years, I suffered the worst thing a parent could be exposed to – a child abuser," said Book. "I call all her references and interviewed women. We did our due diligence – all the things you should do."

By 17, Lauren spoke up and Flores was sentenced to 25 years in prison. In the aftermath of the trauma, Lauren, now 28, and her father founded Lauren's Kids Foundation, which helps families and victims deal with abuse.

Book recommends parents insist on psychological testing before hiring someone to take care of their children.

"It might give you the information that this person is a predator – that this person is off balance," he said. "It makes a difference, I tell parents every day."

He also recommends using cameras in the house, and not just in the main area, but in bathrooms and closets.

"You should not be ashamed of being paranoid," said Book. "You do what you have to do to make sure you are cutting any opportunity for harm to come to the kids when you trust them, to anyone other than a family member."

In her book, "It's OK to Tell: A Story of Hope and Recovery," Lauren urges children to speak up when they are uncomfortable with a caregiver.