I knew Mariel 4 years ago through MOMS at church, and sat at a table with her for some of the time. I remember only good things about her, and always thought she was a sweet, godly woman, and a loving, tender mama. Even though I wasn’t very close to her at that time, I was DEEPLY impressed at her trial to see how much she was in the Word and trusting our God, and speaking truth to all of us who came to encourage and support her. I have the utmost confidence that she is totally innocent.
About a year ago I sat down to a brunch at my church, and was delighted to have Mariel, Andy, and their whole family join at my table. The previous year I’d had their oldest child, So..., in my Kindergarten Sunday School class. My memory of So... from the Kindergarten class was of a sweet-spirited girl who was well-adjusted, bright, funny at times and well-mannered. So... was also a good communicator, and on more than one occasion she proved she could handily hold her own in a one-on-one conversation with an adult. So that day at the brunch was a golden opportunity to visit with So...’s parents and gain a fuller picture of this family.
I couldn’t have been more pleased, and felt like I had struck gold. I learned how Andy and Mariel met, how one of Mariel’s sisters married Andy’s twin brother, and some wonderful insights into their family life with four young children. That day I was blessed with a beautiful introduction to Andy and Mariel. At all angles of interaction I observed committed parents who displayed solid parenting skills blended with love and tender affection towards the young treasures entrusted to them. As a youth ministry volunteer for over 30 years, Mariel and Andy are the type of parents I am eager to breathe a prayer of praise to God for the work He does in the hearts of parents.
I met Mariel in 1999 in the Dominican Republic. We were taking English classes and attended the Lutheran church there. Mariel always stood out with her kind and friendly personality. After many years of not seeing her, we were able to reconnect in 2016 at a park in the Dominican Republic. I was able to witness her patience and ability with her children. I was impressed by her. Mariel's calmness was so natural and admirable. May God continue to bless her.
My name is Rosinha Pérez, from the Dominican Republic. When I was a small child, I lived with my mother and my three sisters, and Mariel’s family were our neighbors. Mariel was born into a loving, caring, serious, hard-working, honest and Christian family. I had the opportunity of spending a lot of time with Mariel and her sisters because my mother took care of them while their parents were at work. Therefore, part of what these young women are today also stems from that loving seed that my mother planted in them and in all the other children she had the blessing of caring for. Mariel’s parents ensured that she, Carol, and Heidi had the best possible education, love, and opportunities in life, and the girls knew how to make the best of this love and profited greatly from all the blessings that God granted them through their parents. Mariel was always a good, obedient, caring and studious girl.
I had the opportunity of spending time with her and her four children on a recent summer when they came to the Dominican Republic. We were at San Marino Beach and Residences in Puerto Plata, a vacation complex where my family has an apartment; Mariel and her children were spending a few weeks there at an apartment she’d rented to spend time as a family and enjoy vacationing by the beach. I have three children who are 3 ½ years apart from each other and I know that raising and caring for children is not easy, as they demand a lot of time and love. I remember mentioning to my husband that it was incredible how much love and patience she treated each of her children with, regardless of how young they were, and how well she cared for them.
I offer this sincere testimony that I’m certain that Mariel would never, under any circumstance, be capable of harming any child, adult or elderly person. I’ve loved her very much since she was a small child, and throughout the years she has exhibited a sincere character, respectful of other people’s lives. She is a Christian person and she’s emotionally healthy.
Mariel, I’ve already told you, but please keep in mind that we love you and we know that you are innocent. Do not dismay and continue to have faith in God. My tears flow as I write this.
I am Mariel Grimm’s cousin. I have always known her to be a nurturing and very responsible person. As one of the eldest children in the family, Mariel always looked out for us younger cousins, ensuring we were safe and following our parents’ rules. She was always patient and kind, and never had issues with friends or family.
As a young girl, I always looked up to her because of her compassionate nature. She values family, and I was always convinced she should be a great mother once she started a family of her own. As we grew older, my respect for her also grew. Knowing what a loving person she is, I am convinced Mariel is incapable of hurting anyone, let alone a small child whom she welcomed into her home.
Mariel is an amazing wife and mother; she is very involved in her children’s lives, always doing whatever she can to keep a smile on their faces, while teaching them the importance of being respectful and well mannered. When I gave birth to my own daughter, I remembered wishing I could be like my cousin Mariel. She is so affectionate and always welcoming, never too tired to extend a hand to those in need. It's hard for me to trust and rely on others to babysit my daughter while I’m at work, but if we lived closer, Mariel would definitely be someone I would not hesitate to allow to care for my child.
This unfortunate situation has been very hard to accept and deal with because it is not in Mariel’s character to hurt anyone at all. Her beautiful children need their mother, especially at such young ages. They have been homeschooled thus far, and are extremely smart and well behaved. Nobody will ever be able to replace the amount of attention and affection Mariel gives these children.
I know Mariel well, and I love and trust her.
I have known and loved Mariel and her family since she was a little girl. She used to be my neighbor, my Sunday school pupil, my friend. In many ways, Mariel and her family are also my family. I watched her grow up into a beautiful young woman, inside and out.
My trust in her and her family is such that when my own daughter was about 8 years old, she used to go once a week to their home to take piano lessons from Mariel’s sister, Carol. Later on, Mariel and I had the opportunity of working together in a Summer Bible School at our local church in the Dominican Republic. I was filled with joy and pride seeing her work with passion and showing so much love to each of the children in our group. At that time, she was already living in the United States and would come back to the D.R. for summer vacation to spend time with her family. Mariel sacrificed that week of her vacation to volunteer with those children.
Years later, I had the opportunity of spending time with her and her children in each of their visits to our country. I saw her interact with her own children when she visited my house. We got the chance to discuss her plans to home school her children until they were old enough to attend primary school. We also talked about her fervent love for the souls of her children and how she had put her career on hold to dedicate to her family 24/7. During her last visit to my house, we spent the afternoon reading stories to her children.
The day in which I found out about the judicial process Mariel was going through, I was in shock. All of us who know Mariel know that she is incapable of harming a child.
I pray to God that His name is glorified during this process, that He sustain Mariel at all times, and that He use these tribulations to bring us all closer to Him. I pray that He shows mercy on her children, and that He allows them to continue being loved, cared for, and instructed by their mother.
I am Mariel’s aunt, so I’ve known her since her birth. I never witnessed or heard of her having problems at school, at church, or with family. She was always a good example of love and solidarity to her two younger sisters. Mariel is very loving and kind with everyone around her. She’s always willing to help and cooperate with others whenever she can. When Mariel and Andy came to visit me in Sacramento, California, all my friends could see Mariel’s sweetness. They are also very sad about the injustice of her case. One person in particular, Rosaura Silvestre, met her and was amazed by Mariel’s good character.
I talk to her fairly frequently and I’m filled with pride seeing how much she loves her family. She is a selfless wife and other. The way her children behave is a great testimony to the education her parents have given them, based on love, tenderness, and above all, faith in God.
I believe in her innocence.
God is with you, Mariel, and he will not abandon you. I love you very much, dear niece.
I’ve known Mariel and her family since she was a single lady living in Santiago, Dominican Republic. She was an excellent young woman who graduated with honors from her school and lived out her Christian testimony well.
After she was married and had children, I’d always see them during their summertime visits to her parents and to our local church. Her treatment of others was always sweet and kind; she was always smiling. On the many occasions I visited Minnesota, she always welcomed us into her home. Regardless of how many of us were visiting, she greeted us with a meal in her orderly and beautiful home.
Each time she visits the Dominican Republic, she honors her parents and relatives by spending quality time with them and being a blessing to others with her gentle and agreeable disposition. Her husband is very pleasant to be around, and her beautiful children are always happy, demonstrating a beautiful family harmony. I have no doubts about Mariel’s good character and integrity, and if I ever needed her help and services, I would rely on her completely.
I am the mother of three children, and like Mariel, I’m an educator; I cannot imagine what she must be going through at the moment. Yet, regardless of the tragic situation she’s in, every report she has shared has been filled with Bible verses and thoughts that God has enlightened her with; she not only shares this to sustain herself, but so that those who know her personally, as well as those who do not, can also find comfort and trust God’s good plans.
We pray for Mariel, for her husband, her parents, her sisters, her in-laws. May God bless them, help them stay strong, and continuing to believe in Him until His glory shines through this ordeal. We love Mariel and wait with expectancy to see what God has in store for her!