Marina Sabatier
   - September 6 or 7, 2009

Sometimes, the system tries to work and it can't. What would cause an eight year old girl to protect her abusers when help arrived to save her? Marina Sabatier did just that.

Teachers had noticed bruises on Marine and that she was very thin, often trying to steal food the lunches of other children. It would later come out that the family had moved at least five times in as many years, making it hard for Social Services, or anyone else, to check on them. Teachers tried to help her by alerting the proper agencies to what they thought was a bad case of child abuse, they were right, however, when questioned while her father was in the room, Marina said that everything was fine and she was not being abused. The first mistake on the part of the authorities sent to protect this child, was allowing a parent to be in the room while she was being questioned. Of course she is not going to tell the truth, out of fear of the man who was abusing her:

"We did what could but to no affect. We were particularly worried because Marina was the subject
of a report from a neighboring village"
Jean-Luc Dubois - Headmaster

On September 9, 2009, Eric Sabatier, who was 37 at the time and Virginie Darras, who was 30 years old at the time, claimed they went to McDonald's to buy some food and while they were inside, someone kidnapped Marina, their daughter. It was initially thought by people that Marina had Down's Syndrome because her face was disfigured by all of the beatings she had been given by her parents, but it was not true. Four other children who lived in the home, were told that their sister had gone on vacation.

On September 11, 2009, the shocking truth came out when Police found a cement filled container, which also held the remains of Marina, at the workplace of  Eric. Eric and Virginie were arrested and confessed that they had beaten their daughter because she was always asking for food and as it turned out, they had originally hidden her body in the freezer for about six weeks before coming up with the idea to encase her in cement inside of the trunk. The couple told Police that they came up with the kidnapping story so that she would not be missed at school. Eric lead Police to the place where he had stored the trunk.

Erica and Virginie were arrested and charged with barbaric acts of torture leading to the death of a minor and misleading police when telling them their daughter had been kidnapped. In court it was stated that the night before she died was an extremely horrific time for Marina. Marina was beaten and tortured at the hands of her parents, being forced to eat salt and vinegar, putting her into freezing cold water and then sending her naked to sleep in the cellar. Marina was found dead the next day, by her parents and in a panic, they put her in the freezer before making the decision to wrap her in a sheet, put her in the trunk and fill it with cement.

The jury viewed the video taped questioning of Marina talking to Police, protecting her parents by saying nothing was going on. A Psychologist testified that that Marina had become the scapegoat for her parents who had emotional troubles and that she was abused as a way to let out their frustrations. In court, Virginie made a statement before sentencing was handed down:

"Marina, I loved you until the day you left. I neglected, humiliated you to the point of torture. And
you loved us to the point of protecting us. I don't deserve any forgiveness, especially not yours"

Eric Sabatier who was by then 40 years old and Virginie Darras who was by then 33 years old, were each sentenced to  only 30 years in prison, having to serve only 20 years before becoming eligible for parole. It was expected that neither of the two would file appeals.

Complaints were filed by at least two agencies that were advocating for the protection of children:

"This trial must lead to the progress in the protection of children"
Vanina Padovana - Blue Child Association

This page was created on May 23, 2104
Death occurred in France

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