My name is Kathy Atkins, Joshua Klaver’s Mother
Joshua’s life started off with two parents who were unmarried with no plans to do so. Not the ideal way to start off life, but Joshua was very loved by so many people. He was our giggle and the first baby born into my group of friends; the same people who love him to this day. But I can’t share with you about what happened to Joshua without sharing something about myself first.
I decided to have a child with a man I didn’t know well. I was old enough to know better; but too young to be having a child on my own. When Joshua was going on three years old something happened in my life and I did not deal with it well. Just prior to his marriage to a women with children of her own, I asked Joshua’s father to help watch over Joshua while I regrouped myself. This is what I told myself while I was ill prepared in many aspects of being a single mother, I made life changing decisions regarding Joshua’s care as I freely allowed a world of drugs and alcohol to pull me gutter side where I walked for a time with no respect for myself. It impacted many people around me, including strangers. This path damaged relationships with people whom I love; most heartbreaking, it is what started a nightmare of pain for Joshua.
As I watch my grandchildren grow happy and so very loved without any kind of harm being placed on them I am reminded of the choices I made so many years ago. Everything reminds me of my choices, our daughter’s ages as they grew past Joshua’s ages at every stage of his nightmare, my grand children as they do the same and the grand children that are not to be with Joshua gone. I’m reminded of my choice in the faces of strangers, young men who would be Joshua’s age as the years go by. The ‘what could have been if only’ is a harsh thing to carry everyday through life so as I share Joshua’s story with you know I stand before God always when I think of Josh throughout my day and it’s so very painful to have all the memories in detail swirl in my thoughts at any given moment, Keep all this mind if you find yourself in a place like mine where you are losing yourself to drugs, Please know that it is very possible to never recover from that choice. Never think there is not going to be an aftermath from your decisions that will pour out before you for years after you have cleansed your system free from the overload of anything you could get your hands on. Never think where’s my mom again? as awful as that was for Joshua to understand is not the worst thing that can happen while you are high or wanting to be high. I placed Joshua with his father where his abuse became a family secret and where he died many years later.
As I share the actions of other people who touched Joshua’s life please know I step forward first; I am responsible for the decisions I made.
The place I felt was safe for Joshua became a place with no way out, I am very serious when I say this. Joshua’s nightmare became the child abuse and the adult energy that swirled around the exposure. The Santa Clara County Family Court system, CPS and the Sheriff’s Department were our only way to get the help Joshua needed. But we were not prepared for dealings with a legal system when it concerned officer involved domestic violence in the 1980’s. KW, Joshua’s father, was a Sheriff Deputy and his second wife, Bobbi, was a Highway Patrol Officer. No one wanted to make decisions that could impact two people’s jobs in law enforcement. It was a home that ended up to be full of silence about Joshua being abused and protection of KW’s abusive behavior was widespread. There was silence that came from KW’s wives, a silence that flowed from one to the other in a breeze as one left and the other stepped into Joshua’s life.
I would also like to share with you the other adults in the room involved in Joshua’s life outside his family. Santa Clara County, California – The Sheriff’s Department, Medical Examiners office, the 1990 and 2014 Child death review boards, the DA’s Office and Child protective services (CPS) Family Court System. California Attorney General’s Office. You might be thinking that Joshua’s death and the years of abuse and police protection doesn’t happened like that anymore and yes laws have changed about domestic violence since 1989 but Officer Involved Domestic Violence is still a dangerous issue. An issue full of silence in our Country, the silence that allowed Joshua’s nightmare to continue unchecked still happens today. Not all child victims of OIDV die like Joshua did, but many sit in the silence of their homes while they live their own personal nightmares.
Joshua died in January of 1989 by hanging when he was 10 years old after years of abuse at the hands of his father, Santa Clara County Sheriff Deputy KW Klaver. The Sheriff’s Department had on going knowledge of the abuse for years before Joshua’s death; as did the Family Court System, we had judges flip on their findings, CPS involvement and after years of abuse and many family court interactions we were told by the Family Court of Santa Clara County that the next morning Joshua would meet with a Judge to talk about what he was going through. Did they place him with CPS for the night? No, did they place him to stay with me where he was? No, the commissioner ordered Joshua to go back to his father’s for the night! She felt it was important that Joshua knew that he can go to his dad’s and feel safe. I was ordered to go home, where Joshua was with my mother, and prep him for going to his dads for the night, help him feel safe. I was ordered to do so but we didn’t make it home in time after court that day. Joshua died by hanging an hour after his father and his wife Bobbi took Joshua from my mother before we arrived. The next morning there was a meeting with a few Judges and both family’s lawyers at the family law courthouse. They pondered over what they could have done different over the years to help Joshua, we never heard from them after that.
In 2006 I found a article on line called ‘The Klaver Trilogy’. The article was written by legal defense for police officers in California. I go over the article throughout the blog and I have spent a lot of time with the system to learn what happened years ago. In 2014 Bobbi Klaver shared information that opened an investigation, I feel strongly that it was a investigation that Sheriff Smith did not want to happen because of the history the Sheriff’s Department had with Joshua. Sheriff Smith left this witness legally unquestioned for 18 months until she became legally nervous for herself after being put off by the Sheriff’s Department enough times that we lost her true statement when she was finally interviewed. . Please take the time that I would be very grateful for and read my story so you can understand why Sheriff Laurie Smith conducted the investigation the way she did starting just before her re- election bid in 2014.
This story takes place over many years. Before and after Joshua’s death in 1989.
National Crisis Hotline listings for addicts or alcoholics, parents of addicts, domestic … Many toll-free numbers and some are 24-hour, 365 days a year. … Children Substance Abuse/Alcoholism | Youth Hotline | 5 Ways to Cope After a Crisis ..
OUR MISSION – http://www.ncadv.org
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is the voice of victims and survivors. We are the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence. We do this by affecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive that change.
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