KOKOMO, Ind. - The widow of a Howard County Sheriff's Deputy killed in the line of duty is opening up about life without her husband as we approach the one-year anniversary of his death.
Deputy Carl Koontz, 26, was shot while serving a search warrant in Russiaville. He died hours later on Mar. 20, 2016.
The past 12 months have been emotional for his widow Kassie Koontz.
Before his death, the couple had just welcomed a baby boy. They were making plans for the future. Earlier that day, Kassie had a conversation with Carl over dinner about whether she should go back to school.
Later that night, Kassie would get a knock on her door and find out her husband was in the hospital. The thought he was seriously hurt never crossed her mind at first.
"Nobody wanted to tell me anything until I got to the hospital and that’s when they told me he got shot," she recalled.
Hours later, Carl passed away.
"I've had to learn to live without my other half. My best friend," said Kassie. "I've had to move forward when I didn’t want to."
From the funeral to memorial events, Kassie has stayed busy raising the couple's energetic son Noah. He was only a few months old when his father passed away. Today, he is walking and talking.
“His personality, his facial features, it’s all Carl. And I could not be more thankful for that.”
Knowing he'll never have his father is painful. Kassie told us her biggest fear is not making Carl proud.
"Am I doing everything right? Just as any single mother, but also a widowed mother would probably wonder. Would Carl be okay with how I’m raising him?"
She will have some help in teaching her son about his father. At Deputy Koontz' funeral, Kassie asked anyone who crossed paths with Noah to let him know they were at his father's funeral. She wants him to understand how important and loved he was. That's what keeps her going.
"We all have to move forward so one person knows who Carl was. And that one person is a little boy who never had a chance."