The family of a North County single mother killed by her ex-boyfriend is turning their tragedy into hope for others.
The Scharbarth family have started Kathy’s Legacy Foundation to provide tangible protection for victims of domestic violence and offer support for surviving children.
On Thanksgiving 2011, Kathy Scharbarth’s birthday, she was reported missing. Her body was found the next day in Fallbrook. Police said her ex-boyfriend, Michael Robles, tried make contact with Scharbarth at her home in Carlsbad, but the interaction became violent and he strangled her as her daughter slept upstairs in their condo.
“When Kathy first filed her restraining order it was on November 17, 2011, and then a week later she was strangled by the person who she had the restraining order against,” said Michael Scharbarth, Kathy’s brother.
That’s why Michael, his family and friends created the foundation.
“The goal is to provide tangible protection for domestic violence victims,” said Michael. “We've been in talks with a company called Five Star and these pagers for domestic violence victims who may fear for their lives. They can click the button and someone else may be there.” He says the group is also working to provide self-defense classes.
The family has already helped pass "Kathy's Law" which aims to strengthen restraining orders, allowing judges to call for GPS monitoring devices for domestic violence suspects.
Michael also dealt with his grief in his own way. He signed up for an EMT class. He wanted to gain a better understanding of the work of first responders.
“I'd spend nights thinking about what the detectives had done for us,” he said. “On test day, whenever we had a test or a final, I always had a “Team Kathy” shirt underneath my uniform.”
The foundations first fundraiser is planned for Tuesday, May 6. It’s being held at Brett’s BBQ at 1505 Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas and goes from 11 A.M. to 9 P.M. Proceeds help Kathy’s Legacy Foundation.