Birthday celebration to candlelight vigil: Community rallies around Kirkersville victim

NEWARK, OH (WCMH) — For those who knew and loved Marlina Medrano, a Thursday night celebration of what would have been her 47th birthday was met with a mix of sadness and remembrance.

“Like a ripple effect, domestic violence devastated so many,” said her sister Leilani Love. “Three different families and two different communities were assaulted.”

Medrano was killed by her ex-boyfriend Thomas Hartless on May 12 while working at Pine Kirk Care Center in Kirkersville, Ohio. Her co-worker Cindy Krantz and Kirkerville Police Chief Eric DiSario were also murdered by Hartless.

Love wants to make sure Medrano’s life’s purpose continues.

“My family’s ability in beginning to accept this new reality that does not includes Marlina here with us will only begin with changes in the systems that have failed her,” Love said. Hartless was a free man when he committed the murders, despite multiple instances of domestic violence in his past.

Love doesn’t want other families to suffer because of violence that could be prevented. She quoted in her sister when finishing her remarks on Thursday night.

“When life gives you rainy days, jump in the puddle … We’re going to start jumping in puddles.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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