A Sisters Light

Hello! My name is Melissa Scharbarth and my older sister Kathy was murdered on November 24th, 2011.

Throughout my life I’ve had to deal with a handful of hardships, but no experience has ever rocked my heart more than when I was told that my sister was murdered. Dead. Never coming back. The one word that best describes the feeling I endured was, shattered. I was in pieces. How could this be real?

At first, not wanting to deal with the pain, I swept the shattered pieces away and hid them in a deep, dark depression where the feeling couldn’t find me. Then, very slowly, after many months of counseling, I started putting back together the pieces of my broken heart; and with that I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The light was radiant, strong, and bright. The light was Kathy. Finally, after discovering Kathy was still ever so present in my life I began to feel her everywhere.

Through my sister’s guidance, I have adapted a more “Kathy” way of living. I’ve developed a stronger appreciation for life, a desire to care for other people, and a willingness to accept challenges thrown my way. My sister had many positive characteristics, however, when I notice myself being more thoughtful than usual, patient, and self-less, I smile knowing I am walking in her footsteps. Kathy has helped me pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and put them back in place.

My life will never be the same and I have been forced to move on. I take things day by day and find time to talk to Kathy. I feel her around me all the time and she is constantly giving me guidance and support.

Today, because of Kathy’s light, I stand strong and I am committed to helping victims of domestic violence and anyone in need.

No More

The "NO MORE" movement, http://nomore.org is sending powerful messages encouraging viewers to open the door and initiate conversations with friends and loved ones in hopes to educate and save lives.   

"60% of Americans, 15 years of age or older, know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. Among the 70% of women who have experienced domestic violence and told someone about it, more than half (58%) said that no one helped them." ("NO MORE Study" conducted by GFK public affairs & Corporate Communications)

According to No More, 12.7 Million people are physically abused, raped or stalked by their partners in one year.  This is 24 people every minute.  This is someone you know.  Join the movement, have the conversation, help educate and save a life. 

In the time it took to write this blog post, 1,440 people were abused.  

Author: S. Thomas
Source: NoMore.org

Reviving Hope

Hope: an optimistic attitude of mind based on expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large. Revive: restoring to life or consciousness.

On November 26, 2011, two days after Kathy Scharbarth was reported missing, family and friends lost all hope when they received the news that "Kathy was no longer with us".   It was a time when for many, all hope was lost, there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and the question of where to go from here plagued so many people's thoughts.

The answer to that question was eventually found when we asked, "what would Kathy do?" 

Kathy was kind, gentle, loving and life changing.  Through her kindness, generosity and willingness to lend a hand to those in need, she would restore faith and hope when one might feel there was none.  Kathy would make a difference. 

On Friday, October 3, 2014 nearly three years after Kathy was murdered, Kathy's Legacy Foundation hosted "Reviving Hope",  hoping to do just that, Revive Hope in the lives of the surviving children of domestic violence homicide. 

Madison, who was only 13 years old when her life was forever changed spoke publicly at the event and shared what a profound impact the love and support she received from so many during such a difficult time had on her life.  

Kathy's Legacy will continue our efforts to build a program that offers the support and stability that this underserved population needs and deserves during such a difficult time. We will work to make a difference in these children's lives as Kathy did in the lives of all those she touched.

We would like to thank the vendors who donated their time and services, the San Diego Yacht Club for their support in coordinating and hosting the event and every one of you who supported, attended and helped make our event a huge success, inching us one step closer to making a difference. 

Domestic Violence in 24 hours

On September 17, 2013, the National Network to end Domestic Violence conducted a 24 hour census of Domestic Violence Shelters and Services.  Out of the 1,905 identified domestic violence programs in the United states, 1,649 participated in the census, of those that participated, 99 were in California*.  

Below is a snapshot of Domestic Violence in a 24 hour period:

  • In Massachusetts a woman escaped her husband after he nearly assaulted her and threatened her with a knife
  • In Illinois, a son jumped in front of his mother to protect her from her husband
  • In Pennsylvania, a woman called the police when her boyfriend pulled a gun on her
  • A mother almost lost her home as a result of her abusive partner taking all of their money and escaping the police
  • In the US two women were killed by their partners
  • 19,431 children and 16,917 adults were provided safety in emergency shelters
  • 5,873 children and 24,360 adults were provided other non-residential assistance
  • 20,267 hot line calls were answered 
    • 867 calls per hour / 14 calls per minute
  • 1,413 trainings were conducted to more than 23,000 students, parents, teachers, law enforcement officers, mental health professionals, attorneys, child protective services employees and other professionals.

While the numbers show victims are seeking and receiving help, it also shows that there is a need for more:  

  • 9,641 requests went unfulfilled

Many of the programs that are available are struggling to continue to operate successfully.  Nationwide, there is a lack of funding, a lack of resources and a lack of support staff.  As a result, calls go unanswered, requests go un-fulfilled and victims lose hope.  

The census confirms what I believe many of us already know; when help is available to those in need, lives are saved, protection is received, education is provided and hope is restored.  

Kathy's Legacy Foundation along with so many other support groups, foundations and networks are working to protect, save and restore lives.  Our hope is to someday read a census report that shows all calls answered, all victims protected and all lives saved.  

For more information about the 2013 national census or individual state results, please visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence 

*California had 100% participation
*The survey results are based on 85% participation, therefor may not reflect all cases that may have been reported across the US on this day. 

Why do Domestic Violence Victims Stay?

Have you ever asked this question?  When you hear of stories about Domestic Violence, and your discussing amongst yourselves, do you find yourself trying to find an answer that makes sense?  Do you find yourself wondering why they stay, why they continue to endure the abuse, why they remain victims and put themselves (and their children) in danger?

I will admit, this is a question I have asked myself numerous times when I have come across stories about Domestic Violence in the news or otherwise.  Not only have I asked this question, I have answered it!  I have, on more than one occasion, jumped on my judgmental soap box and found myself voicing my opinion as though I understood or knew from experience.  I on more than one occasion have said: "that would never be me! I don't understand how they can stay, I would leave! I wouldn't stand for it! I would never allow anyone to treat me that way!  I would always protect my kids!"    All of this was before... 

Now, after watching this video and reading Leslie Morgan Steiner's "Crazy Love"  I can honestly say, I will never again ask why. I will never again be so quick to judge.  

Written by: Sara Thomas | wife, mother, friend of Kathy's and Board Member

Domestic Violence | More than just physical

Domestic Violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, dating abuse, and intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behavior that is used to maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Domestic Violence victims are not just housewives.  Domestic Violence victims are married and not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, living separately, or dating. Domestic Violence victims are any age, sex, race, culture, and religion; Domestic Violence is not something isolated to the housewife, it affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and educations levels.

Traditionally, when we think about Domestic Violence, we think of the victims as being physically abused, and while more often than not this is true; there are additional forms of abuse:

  •  Emotional/psychological abuse – name calling, insults or derogatory statements

  • Isolation – not allowing the partner to communicate with friends and/or family; not allowing partner to seek or maintain employment

  •  Sexual abuse – unwanted and forced; sexual humiliation

  • Stalking – unwanted or obsessive behavior; intimidation and fear

  •  Threats of physical harm to partner and/or friends and family of partner

Individuals who are trapped in Domestic Violence situations as a result of their own fear or shame may experience physical disabilities, chronic health problems, mental illness, financial hardship, and an inability to develop healthy relationships. Some victims experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and children who are raised in an environment of abuse are likely to continue the pattern when they reach adulthood.

 Victims feel powerless to change their situation; they feel alone, scared, trapped and uncertain of how to break free. If you or someone you know is a victim of Domestic Violence, there is help available to you:

·    The National Domestic Violence Hotline | http://www.thehotline.org | (800) 799-SAFE (7233)

 If you have questions on how to get help or how to help others, please reach out to us: http://www.kathyslegacy.org/contact/


DomesticViolence.org: http://www.domesticviolence.org/definition/

Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence: http://www.icadvinc.org/what-is-domestic-violence/

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence

DON'T FORGET: Game Night, Saturday August 2nd!

Join Kathy's Legacy Foundation for a night with the Padres and Floppy Hats!!

Invite your friends and family for a night of hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn and fun!

You will make a difference by attending this event as a portion of the proceeds will go to KLF

Saturday August 2nd Padres VS Braves

Fun starts at 5:40pm.

You can purchase tickets directly through our website by selecting the button below

Tickets will be mailed directly to you




Thank you for your support

Tuesday we held our first fundraiser for Kathy's Legacy Foundation at Brett's BBQ in Encinitas. It was a HUGE success.  Thank you to EVERYONE who came out and supported Kathy's Legacy.

Kathy's Legacy would like to thank Brett's BBQ for hosting our fundraiser.  They went above and beyond to help make the day a success.  Brett and Bruce were so accommodating and generous.  The food was amazing (as always) and so was the great company!

Everyone had an amazing time!

Check out our flipagram and photo gallery to see what an amazing night we had! 

Thank you again for all of your support!


Michael Scharbarth speaks out at the 25th annual Candlelight Tribute for Crime Victims Survivors

Click on the links below, Michael Scharbarth was asked to speak at the 25th annual Candlelight Tribute for Crime Victims Survivors.  




Kathy's Legacy Foundation provides tangible protection for victims of domestic violence and support of surviving children. 

Testimony on Behalf of Kathy's Law

In the spring of 2012, Ginny Scharbarth, Kathy's mother, spoke before the California congress in support of AB 2467. AB 2467 would later be renamed Kathy's Law. Below is her testimony:

Good Morning. My name is Ginny Scharbarth. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today.

I understand that AB 2467 – Victim Safety through GPS Monitoring is being considered. This proposed bill has personal and significant importance to me. 

At the end of February, 2011, our daughter, Kathleen Cary, moved out of the home she shared in Fallbrook with David Robles. She told my husband and me that his behavior had become volatile and frightening. She said he was erratic, forceful, and threatening. Kathy was scared for her safety and for that of her 13 year old daughter, Madison. Kathy devised an exit plan and moved into a condo ten minutes from us. 

For the next ten months Dave called, emailed, texted, and badgered her. Kathy said if she didn’t respond to his messages he would show up at her door. She always was on “Dave patrol” trying to keep peace. She focused on Madison and her furniture import business. 

On Veterans Day weekend Kathy went with a few friends for a getaway. She called and told me she had met someone amazing named Dan. When Dave found out about her new friend his calls, texts, and emails became relentless day and night and the stalking began. 

In court documents Kathy wrote, “I have asked, begged and demanded that Michael David Robles leave me alone. He told me on November 15th cannot do that. I am trying to move on with my life and I do not want any contact with him.” Kathy added, “On November 16th to my house in an unidentified vehicle and stalked the outside of my home. 

He was lying down in the driver's seat and then disappeared from the car. He later moved the car and approached me and my friend acting erratically and I was scared. I asked him to leave as I did earlier in the day when he showed up unannounced. He pushed me out of the way and barged into my home to confront my friend. He yelled and acted hostile but eventually left when I threatened to call the police. He later asked a friend to use another vehicle to come to my house again since the police would be able to identify his car. A day earlier he threatened to beat my new friend to a bloody pulp if he saw us together.” 

Kathy was granted a temporary restraining order on Nov. 17, 2011. David Robles immediately violated the restraining order. He left streaming voicemails, texts, and emails. A neighbor of Kathy’s reported seeing Dave hiding in some bushes near her property less than two hours before he took her life. 

On Thanksgiving Eve, November 23, Kathy walked Dan to his car at 11:30 p.m. While she was outside, Robles snuck into her residence, laid in wait, and strangled Kathy when she returned. Madison slept upstairs unaware her mother was fighting for her life. Had AB 2467 been a law, Dave would have been ordered to wear a GPS device. Kathy would have been alerted that he was nearby. I’m confident it would have saved her life. 

On November 24, 2011, Thanksgiving Day, seven days after she obtained the restraining order my sweet daughter was dead. This Thanksgiving was to be special as it fell on Kathy’s birthday. We were hosting Thanksgiving dinner and a birthday party. That morning I called Kathy to wish her a happy birthday. I tried several times and each time it went directly to voicemail. Kathy’s birthday turned out to be her death day. 

How many more innocent women have to die before the courts place substance behind restraining orders? It is time electronic monitoring devices are used to protect a victim who is being harassed and fear for their life. The odds are great that unless we put more emphasis on protecting victims there will be countless more people that will lose their lives to domestic violence. Kathy was given a piece of paper that was no defense against a belligerent ex-boyfriend. The day she received the restraining order she texted a family friend. It read, “Today I am empowered.” The restraining order gave her a false sense of security and made matters worse by inciting Dave. AB 2467 will turn the written order into real and tangible protection. It will give victims the opportunity to take control of their lives and not live in constant fear of their perpetrator who may be lying in wait as David Robles was.

Kathy was a beautiful person inside and out. She was a respectful daughter, loving sister, and devoted mother. Kathy was unique and loved by a community. In her brother’s eulogy he described his sister as the queen of random acts of kindness. Over 1100 people attended her funeral. She wasn’t a celebrity or public official. She was just a remarkable and special young woman. This tragedy has left us without a daughter, siblings without a sister, and a daughter without a mother. I’m sure there are some of you who have daughters. I wonder if any of you have buried a daughter as we have. Our lives will never be the same. There will always be a void in our hearts. 

AB 2467 – Victim Safety through GPS Monitoring, that you are considering is the responsible avenue to protect those who fear for their lives. I understand there is a fiscal aspect to consider with every proposed bill. I’m unclear how you put a price on human life, but I do know that Kathleen Cary’s life was priceless. 

Thank you.