My Wife Was Murdered By an Undocumented Immigrant

But I’m frustrated that Trump exploits stories like ours

Andy Ostroy
4 min readNov 1, 2018


Actress, director, and screenwriter Adrienne Shelly in New York City, 2001. Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images

Twelve years ago today, at approximately 5:30 p.m., I walked into my wife’s office and found her dead in what appeared to be a suicide. And her death remained a suicide until five days later when her killer, a 19-year-old undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, was arrested.

It was unquestionably the worst, most unfathomably horrific day of my life, and there’s not been a day since where I haven’t grieved Adrienne’s tragic loss and her bright light that was so senselessly snuffed out. The pain and sorrow I feel is a life sentence.

Adrienne’s death reshaped me—who I am, what I believe in, and what I stand for. Including my thoughts about immigrants and immigration. And I am saddened by where we are as a nation today.

Let me be clear about a few things: I love my country and would do anything to defend and protect it. I am not for open borders. I advocate for strong border security. I believe immigrants should enter our country legally and that undocumented criminals should be deported.

And let me be even clearer about this: I hate Adrienne’s killer. I hate him for what he did to her. For so brutally extinguishing the life of a kind, beautiful soul. I hate him for robbing our daughter, now almost 15, of the adoring mother who loved her more than anything. I hate that my older children live life without the amazing stepmother they loved so dearly. And I hate him for taking Adrienne away from her own adoring mother and the brothers who no longer have their incredible sister.

But I also hate what Donald Trump has done to America in exploiting murders like Adrienne’s to summarily demonize and scapegoat an entire segment of our population because, for political purposes, he’s compelled to tear the nation apart and turn us against each other. I hate how he’s broad-stroked immigrants, who in desperation seek to cross our borders for a better, safer life, as gang members, thugs, and murderers—a reprehensibly false charge not supported by statistics. The truth is, Americans have more to fear from their fellow citizens than from undocumented immigrants.

This is not Trump’s America.



Andy Ostroy

Director, producer, podcaster, writer, resistor, non-profit-supporter of women filmmakers