Who are Marina Sabatier’s parents? Her dad’s death and mom’s life in prison
Tortured by her parents since she was 2, Marina Sabatier lived a miserable life. Marina thought her parents, Eric Sabatier and Virginie Darras, expressed love through beatings. So, she quietly took the beatings until her body gave up. Marina, cold and battered, died on 7th August 2009 in the family’s basement.
Marina’s mother is serving a 30-year sentence; Marina’s father died in prison
Eric Sabatier and Virginie Darras were sentenced to 30 years for torturing their daughter to death. The prosecution asked the jury to consider two sentences: life imprisonment or 30 years. The jury chose the latter.
Darras could leave prison 20 years into her sentence. Eric died in prison in September 2016 of cancer.
The final hours of Marina’s life were particularly brutal. Eric testified that he came home from work to find Marina sitting on a chair, naked. “I slap her, she pees on herself,” Eric stated, per Europe1.
Eric said he dipped Marina into a cold bath. “I slap her so hard that she hits against the bathtub, and by hitting there is an impact on the edge,” Eric said. Marina’s father added that Darras entered the bathroom and slapped Marina.
He stated that the pair kept Marina in the cold bath, occasionally forcing her head under the water. Marina hit her head several times, he testified. Eric stated that Darras fed Marina vinegar and a tablespoon of coarse salt.
He stated that the couple took the naked and shivering Marina to the basement, where the abuse continued. Marina told Darras that she had a headache, and as Darras left, Marina mumbled, “Good night mom. See you tomorrow.”
Marina never woke up. She died of an acute subdural hematoma caused by head trauma combined with hypothermia and inhalation of vomit. The pathologist said Marina slipped into a coma caused by a major pulmonary edema before dying.
Eric reported to authorities that Marina had been kidnapped. Facing mounting pressure from the police, Eric led authorities to Marina’s body. State prosecutor Chantal Moulin-Bernard said (per The Daily Mail):
“The child was locked in a cellar one night, and was found inanimate in the morning. The body was initially hidden in a deep freeze at another site, before being put in a trunk which was filled with cement.”
Before her sentencing, Marina said she didn’t deserve forgiveness
It’s unclear why Darras and Eric tortured Marina but never laid a finger on their other children. “My stepfather and my mother often beat Marina. We were never beaten,” Marina’s son from a previous relationship stated.
The court considered whether Marina’s parents suffered from a mental illness that forced them to target Marina. Psychiatrists who examined Eric and Darras had severe personality issues, but neither suffered from impaired judgment.
In her final statement to the court, Darras expressed remorse, saying she didn’t deserve forgiveness.
“Marina, I loved you until the day everything changed. I neglected you, humiliated you, until I tortured you. And you, you loved us until you protected us. I don’t deserve any forgiveness, especially not yours, Marina,” Darras said.
Marina’s mother said she would use her time in prison to try to understand why she tortured Marina.
Eric stated during one court session that he planned to take most of the blame so Darras could get a shorter sentence. “The goal was for me to take the maximum so that my wife could go out as quickly as possible to take care of the children,” he stated.
In a short final statement, Eric mentioned his children again. “All I hope is to one day be able to say sorry to my children, find the words to help them rebuild,” Eric said.
Marina’s parents convinced her to lie to the authorities about her injuries
Eric and Darras evaded scrutiny about Marina’s injuries and health by moving around frequently. However, teachers at the several schools Marina attended noticed her frailness and reported it to the authorities. When questioned, Eric said that the injuries on Marina’s body were accidents.
In July 2008, two officers interviewed Marina about her injuries. Marina, smiling and chirpy, explained away the scars on her body. “I think I told her that she would not see us again and that we could go to prison,” Darras said. Eric said he secretly hoped Marina would inform the police of the torture:
“In the car, going to the gendarmerie, she said to me herself ‘Dad, I won’t say anything’, but I was sure that at some point (she would speak)… When we entered in the gendarmerie for the hearing, I expected to be arrested, I would have preferred that she speak.”