TODAY | October 27, 2012
>>> now to a heartbreaking story that has touched families across the country and our own here at nbc. a new york city nanny allegedly killed two young children in her care. mara has more from manhattan's upper west side .
>> reporter: the makeshift memorial continues to grow as people around this community continue to espress their sadness over this horrifying crime. the nanny at the center of the tragedy remains in the hospital and she's unable to speak or answer any questions, but police say she had been facing financial problems and was seeking professional help. police have yet to speak with the 50-year-old nanny they say fatally stabbed two children in her care on thursday, 6-year-old lulu and 2-year-old leo. the children were discovered by their mother, who returned home with her 3-year-old daughter after a swim lesson shortly after 5:30 p.m . their father, kevin, an executive with cnbc, was given the devastating news after he returned from a business trip later that evening.
>> we are still in the process of going through the apartment, also the purse of this woman.
>> reporter: authorities say ortega had no history of violence and lived with her son and other family members at a nearby manhattan neighborhood.
>> she has been employed by the family for approximately two years. she was referred to them by another family.
>> reporter: by all accounts, the family knew their sitter well. even visiting ortega 's relatives in her native dominican republic . with over 60% of the nation's children cared for by people other than their parents, this story hits home for families and care givers everywhere.
>> i don't know what this mother is going through right now. i'm a mother, too.
>> at some point as a mother and a nanny, you tend to develop a bond with the kids that you take care of.
>> we rely on other people to help us and we trust them and treat them like family. we need them.
>> reporter: across the country and around the world, many express their sadness online as well, writing "i have felt sick to my stomach and on the verge of tears all day." "this story haunts me to the core." experts say horrific crimes like this are rare, but still, they leave parents questioning the safety of their own children.
>> when something like this happens, every parent questions themselves and says am i doing anything that places my child at risk? is there anything i could be doing better to make sure that they are okay?
>> reporter: police say ortega is a u.s. citizen who has been in the country for ten years. she has not yet been charged. andrea?
>> makes you want to hug your kids just a little bit tighter. thanks for that report.