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A mother whose two young sons were killed in Westlake Village hit and run shares her grief

A vigil is being held on the second anniversary of the tragedy
The Mark and Jacob Foundation
A vigil is being held on the second anniversary of the tragedy.

Nancy Iskander will join a community vigil being held on the second anniversary of the tragedy on Thursday.

It was two years ago to the day - September 29, 2020.

Nancy Iskander was looking for fresh air and exercise during the pandemic lockdown, for her family of four children as they went out close to their home in Westlake Village.

Her husband and daughter went ahead as Nancy, along with her sons Mark, Jacob and Zachary decided to take a look at the lake on the other side of the road.

It was a decision which would change their lives forever. As they used the marked pedestrian crosswalk, Nancy recalled to a court earlier this year, hearing the sound of two speeding cars and trying to dive out of their way.

11-year-old Mark and 8-year-old Jacob were both killed by the impact of one of the cars. Two years on, she says it's a moment which flashes before her eyes every night.

"Zachary, their little brother, is insisting every day on wearing their clothes," she told KCLU of the way the tragedy has affected their family.

"He takes their back packs to school and uses their things. He likes to sleep in Mark's room. It's his way of keeping that connection, it does break my heart I'll tell you," said Iskander.

Nancy Iskander outside court on Friday
Caroline Feraday
Nancy Iskander spoke exclusively to KCLU

The bravery and dignity of Nancy Iskander, in the face of such grief, has captured the hearts of the local Westlake Village community, who have rallied around the grieving mother and her family.

She says the support has helped her through. But the unimaginable grief and pain is etched on her face as her eyes spill over with tears, as she talks to me.

She remembers Mark as a "super smart boy" who wanted to be a neurosurgeon.

"He loved telling jokes, he loved laughing. He was super sensitive and kind and gentle," she said.

And Jacob? "He was the tough guy. He was the fighter, the runner, the boxer," said Iskander. "He liked to protect me, he would say 'Mom, I'm your body-guard, you should never worry cos I'm your body-guard'."

"Then I had to sit in the hospital and watch him turn blue," she said, her voice cracking with emotion.

Nancy Iskander has been in court and gave evidence in the pre-trial hearing for the driver of the vehicle, Rebecca Grossman, who is charged with two felony counts of murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, along with one felony count of hit and run driving resulting in death.

Earlier this month, Grossman went to court to request the dismissal of the murder charges, a request which was rejected by the judge. Grossman denies the charges against her.

"I'm very thankful that all the charges were kept. I haven't seen my boys in two years. Some days I miss just waking up, walking to their rooms finding them in their beds and waking them up," she said.

"I just miss that. At least to know someone is paying for that loss, isn't that fair?" Iskander said.

At that hearing, the judge said that a trial is unlikely to happen until next year, a delay which Nancy Iskander says is compounding her grief.

"It breaks my heart. If Mark and Jacob were here today they'd be 13 and 10, two young men," she said.

Caroline Feraday
September 29, 2022 marks two years since the deaths of 11-year-old Mark and 8-year-old Jacob Iskander.

The vigil is taking place in Three Springs Park until 6pm.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 5 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.