My Name is Carmen: I Murdered Two Children

The following story is a work of fiction based on a true-life trial and murder.  This story follows a somewhat different history from the real-life story but will certainly be recognized by many as related to the story of Yoselyn Ortega and the Krim’s family.  The story occupied a major place in most newspapers for many months.  For any parent, it is a horror story.  No one can imagine the despair and misery that the Krim’s have gone through.

As I followed the trial, I was struck by the fact that so many of the newspaper articles about the murders were looking for a motive or reason for Ortega’s actions.  Ms. Ortega never testified at the trial and I suspect that many people thought it was simply a matter of allowing or encouraging her to “tell the truth.”  If only we could ask Ortega “why” she did it, we could find her motive and reason.   I have followed many related stories of murders and I have been struck by the lack of “truth” that is ever found.  Not just because suicide seems to be a way out for many murderers but even when the murderer is alive to tell their story.

two children

My name is Maria Carmen Fernanda Lopez.  I am a Columbian citizen.  I want to tell my story so that everyone will understand.  I am now in jail for the murder of two children that I was responsible for taking care of.  I was their nanny.  They say that both children loved me and in truth, I often loved them back.  The entire world wants to know why I murdered these children.

The prosecutors told a lie.  What they said about me was not true.  They wanted me to look very evil so that I could be convicted.  My defense attorneys also did not tell the truth.  They did not know me.  They only wanted to save me from receiving a death sentence.  It did not matter if the truth was told or not.  The psychiatrists who found many reasons for what I did do not know the reason why I murdered the young girl and young boy.  Each of the psychiatrists had a different theory.  I do not like to argue with anyone, so I simply agreed with each of them.  Nine different psychiatrists and nine different theories.

I never had the opportunity to testify.  My attorneys said it would be better if I did not.  I was convicted anyway of first degree murder.  I would like for you to hear my story.  Maybe, you can understand.  I do not deny killing my two young charges.  It was like killing my own children.  The children were very kind to me although sometimes they could be spoiled brats.  But what would you expect with a rich mother and a rich father both of whom could lavish much time and money on their children.  Most of the time they were fun to be around.

I was born in Cali Columbia in 1961.  I was one of twelve children.  My family was very poor.  My father sewed and fixed shoes for a living.  My mother tried to find enough food each day to feed us all.  I was the fifth oldest child and my job was to take care of all my siblings who were younger than I was.   I guess you could say I received nanny training when I was growing up.  I only went to school through the eighth grade.  No one in our family went any further.

I had a cousin Luisa who in 2001 emigrated to the United States.  She had a father who had received a degree in engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.   He wanted to move up in the world and he was able to get a visa and a position with an electronics firm in New York City.  Luisa, her mom and her dad all moved to the USA.

My cousin Luisa and I were very close when we were growing up.  Luisa always had nicer clothes and was much prettier than I was.  Even though her family had much more money than mine, we were like sisters.  She had lots of boyfriends and we would sometimes sneak out at night to share time together.  She would introduce me to many young men, but I was very shy and not very good looking.  My first child was with one of these young men.  We did not marry, and I named my young boy Mateo.  Mateo’s father disappeared a few years after Mateo was born and I never saw him again.  My father was not very happy with me, but unwed pregnancies are the norm in Columbia.  My mother was actually very happy to have a new addition to the family.

A few years after Luisa moved to the USA, she wrote me a letter and asked if I would like to live with her in NYC.  I wrote back and replied that I would love to if I could bring Mateo along as well.  She wrote back that “Of course, you can bring Mateo.  Furthermore, I think I might be able to arrange a job that you would be very good at.”  She did not say anymore, and I was very curious.

I discussed going to the USA with my Mom.  She thought it would be a good opportunity for me but where would we get the money.  We did not have enough money for a bus trip to Bogota, never mind NYC.  My dad was also agreeable since it would be two less mouths to feed.  However, he did not have an extra peso to spare.  Sadly, I wrote back to my cousin to explain that it might be years before I could save enough money to come to the USA.

In a very short time, I received a letter from Luisa.  In the letter was a voucher for a one-way ticket to NYC.  Luisa said I should let her know when we would arrive, and she would meet us at the airport.  I immediately told my mom and dad.  My mother seemed sad to see me go but my father did not seem to care.  I packed my bags and purchased a ticket on Avianca S.A. for two weeks later.  I wrote Luisa and gave her our flight number and arrival time.

We arrived in NYC without any problems.  Luisa met us at the airport and we took a taxi to her apartment in Queens.  She was now living in her own apartment and had a very good job with Verizon company as a translator.  Her Spanish skills and good people skills had allowed her to work up from a customer service representative to a position as manager in one of their bi-lingual call centers.   Luisa had an extra bedroom which I was placed in.  My young son Mateo had a couch to sleep on.  We all hoped that I might find good employment and be able to rent my own apartment someday.

After catching up on family, friends and Luisa’s life in NYC, I was anxious to ask Luisa about this job she thought I might be good at.  Luisa explained that in NYC there were many wealthy families who wanted dependable mature women to work as caretakers or nannies for their children.  Such families were not hard to find, and she knew several families who were currently looking for a good reliable nanny.  With her recommendation, she was sure I would have no trouble finding a job.  My one concern was how I would take care of Mateo who was now eight and take care of someone else’s children.  Luisa said that I should not worry as she could help me with Mateo and most nanny jobs had some degree of flexibility.

Two weeks later after several interviews I was placed with Eric and Sarah Clarke as a nanny for their children.  They were a young couple with two children.  One child, Noah was six and in kindergarten.  The other child Emma was eight and going into the third grade.

Eric was an executive with an aerospace firm and travelled a great deal.  Sarah worked as a Public Relations specialist with the Magrino Company in Manhattan.  The Clarke’s lived in an area known as Tribeca in Manhattan.  It was a very wealthy neighborhood but very convenient in terms of Sarah’s job and Eric’s need to travel frequently.  From Tribeca to the Magrino company was less than twenty minutes by the metro or by car.  Both Sarah and Eric had a great deal of job flexibility and could often work at home.   This last point was what made me accept the position since I felt that I would not be needed twenty-four seven and I would be able to find more time to spend with my own son.  I was going to be a “live-out nanny.”

My starting pay rate would be $18. 00 per hour and I would work ten-hour days except for Wednesday and Thursdays when I would only work five-hour days.  I would work five days a week unless special occasions arose.  In the event of weekend work, my hourly wage would be $26.00 dollars per hour.  My gross salary would be $720 dollars per week.  I would take home about $600 dollars per week.

My expected job duties were as follows:

  • Meeting the children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs.
  • Undertaking all tasks related to childcare, including doing the children’s laundry and preparing the children’s meals and cleaning up afterwards.
  • Caring for the family pet.
  • Meals for the children when parents were not home.

griefI worked for the Clarke’s for about two years.  During that time, I got along quite well with the children.  They were mostly well-behaved and pleasant to be around.  We would go on outings after school and take many walks.  I would buy them ice cream cones and take them to see the animals in the zoo and on library trips and museum trips.

I also got along very well with Eric Clarke.  He was not around as much but he was always polite and treated me as one of the family.  Sarah was a little more difficult and controlled the purse strings.  I had thought that after two years, I should get a raise, but she refused to increase my hourly rate.  She would sometimes ask me to do other jobs which I did not think were in my job description.  I generally acquiesced to her requests.

Now it has been said at my trail by the prosecution that I was angry at Sarah for pushing more work on me and for not paying me enough.  It is true that I thought she could be unfair at times, but I also appreciated the many times she helped me out when I needed help.  She was often very generous and was by no means a skinflint or cheapskate.  I harbored no ill will to either Eric or Sarah.  Then you might ask: “Why?”  Why murder two innocent children?

I have heard all the explanations.  I suffered from mental illness.  I was crazy.  I was overworked.  I was stressed.  I was angry.  I was feeling humiliated.  I was insulted by Sarah.  I was told to by voices in my head.  I did not have enough time with my own son.  I was jealous of the money and status the Clarkes had.  I was going to lose my job.  I was just plain evil.  EVIL, EVIL, EVIL.

Evil or Good

I am glad that I was not asked to testify.  I would not have known what to say.  I would have been asked “Why?” and no one would believe my answer.  You will not believe it.

We seem to think that whenever there is a killing, murder, suicide or mass atrocity that if only the victim lived we could find out “why?”  Humans have an insatiable desire to know the answer to the question: “Why, did they do it?”  The truth is that there is often no reason.

Theodore Bundy, Charles Whitman, James Huberty, George Hennard, Devin, Patrick Kelley, Adam Lanza, Seung-Hu Cho, Omar, Saddiqui Mateen, Stephen Paddock and the list goes on and on.  Why?  Why?  Why?  The public wants a logical reasonable answer.  The police want a motive.  The prosecution wants a reason to convict.  The defense wants a reason to acquit.  Our mental institutions want another reason to try out different therapies.

insanity

Why? Why? Why?

Don’t you think I owe the public an answer?  Don’t you think I owe the Clarkes an answer?  Don’t you think I owe my family an answer?

parental grief

What explanation or reason could possibly make any sense for such a vicious, depraved and wanton act of destruction?  Would any explanation make sense to Noah and Emma?  Would any explanation expiate my guilt and remorse?  What explanation would you believe?

I am certain that I have no explanation you would be satisfied with.  Maybe that is the real definition of craziness.  To do something with no reason, logic or explanation that can possibly make any sense.  I wish I could live my life over again, but I am not sure it would make any difference.  I have explored alternative realities and they all lead right back to this cell that I sit in today.  The ultimate tragedy of my life is inexplicably bound up with murder and chaos.

mother and dead child

They say I expressed no remorse or regrets during the trial.  I appeared to be a selfish and narcissistic person who was only concerned with herself.  I shed no tears.  But what good would regret do?  It would not bring back Noah or Emma.  What good would regret do for the Clarkes?  It would not bring their children back.  It would never help Sarah to forget the horror she saw.

In truth, I have no regrets.  I am a victim just as much as anyone else in this tragedy.  There is no escaping our destiny.

Time for Questions:

Is it possible that people do not know “WHY?”  Why do you think that people do evil things?  Are all of us evil at some point in our lives?  How do we overcome evil?  Is there really a devil who “makes us do it.”

Life is just beginning.

“One might expect that the families of murder victims would be showered with sympathy and support, embraced by their communities. But in reality they are far more likely to feel isolated, fearful, and ashamed, overwhelmed by grief and guilt, angry at the criminal-justice system, and shunned by their old friends.” — Eric Schlosser

 

 

 

 

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ragazza Triste
    May 27, 2018 @ 11:42:32

    This is just sad. I don’t what to feel. 😦

    Reply

    • johnpersico
      May 27, 2018 @ 12:05:09

      Thanks Ragazza, it is a sad story. So many killings are this way, just senseless and with no reason.

      Reply

      • Ragazza Triste
        May 27, 2018 @ 12:11:09

        No reason, yes, no reason at all, so I don’t think they deserve to be given any compassion or chance at another life. No. They took something, they have to pay the price, no matter what the reason is.

  2. johnpersico
    May 27, 2018 @ 15:56:32

    Well, compassion is free, but admittedly it is difficult to give to some people. Still, the more love we have in our hearts for others, the more we have for ourselves. It is ironic but it does work that way.

    Reply

  3. jeanine
    Jun 04, 2018 @ 19:57:09

    After I read your blog I only wanted one question answered, and that was why this happened. I will never be satisfied with not knowing and I am sure the Krim family may not stop asking themselves the same question. Only Yoselyn knows, and I am not sure she even knows why. Apparently the satisfaction of killing these children meant more than her freedom because before she left home she asked her sister to take care of her children. The prosecutor stated that evidence showed that these killing were premeditated not only because of her statement to her sister, but other actions she performed before killing the children. I teach CCD and along with teaching the children about God and goodness in the world, I make them very aware that there is evil in this world and the devil is alive and well. I guess you could say that I am putting the fear of the devil in them. When they say that the devil made them do it, they are not far from the truth. 🙂 I also believe that Yoselyn gave heaven two more angels. If I did not believe this, nothing would make sense.

    Reply

  4. John Persico
    Jun 08, 2018 @ 19:46:05

    You mean you did not find the answer in the blog?

    Reply

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