Toughest Question


What is the toughest question ever asked after any line of duty death? “How?” “Why?” “Could we have done anything differently?” It is none of those.

The toughest question asked is, “Where is my Dad?”

It is particularly heartrending when the question is being asked by a very young child. With only a couple of years of life experience that child has picked up on a few things. The adults around him are sad or angry, or a disconcerting combination of the two. The number of visitors and telephone calls to the home have increased dramatically and sudden trips are taking place to strange, quiet places where adults speak in hushed voices. The child is seeing a lot of faces, some familiar and some not. But the most important indicator something is wrong is that Dad went to work the other night and was not at home when that child woke up the next morning. Dad wasn’t there whipping up breakfast to be enjoyed after the two of them settled in front of the television to watch cartoons. For the past few days Dad’s office has not been parked in it’s usual spot in the driveway.

“Where is my Dad?”

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have never found ourselves having to answer that question can only offer the expected platitudes. “Daddy is in heaven.”

What else can you say to a two year old? Will he understand if you tell him some drunken, cowardly idiot who never knew his father made a decision to kill him by shooting through a closed door because the bad man didn’t want to face the consequences of his obnoxious, drunken behavior? How do you explain to a child who will never see his father again that he was killed doing his job and the person who murdered him was not necessarily shooting at the person you know as Dad, but was shooting at the badge and the uniform and what they represent? Older children can grasp that concept, but not a two year old.

“Where is my Dad?”

Do you tell the child his father died while protecting and serving his community and fellow citizens? You can, but the idea might be difficult to comprehend. All that child knows is Dad is supposed to be there at the appointed time to protect and serve him and Dad did not show up.

“Where is my Dad?”

Will the child understand if you tell him his Dad will always be there with him, in his heart and in his memories? How much will this two year old victim of a violent crime remember about his Dad in 5, 10, 20 years? There will be no additional memories made. Now there are only existing photographs and videos and the other adults and older children who will help keep those old memories alive.

“Where is my Dad?”

We would like to tell this child that his father lives because a little bit of him is present in every man and woman who pins on the badge and upholds the same ideals. Your father interacted with a lot of folks during his career and a little bit of him rubbed off on everyone he supervised or worked with. Many of those law enforcement officers are just starting out and will be around for a long time. Each of them carries a piece of your father with them on patrol and will continue to do so for the next twenty-five or thirty years. They in turn will pass that on to newer officers. You are too young to see it now, but the impact your father had on his fellow public servants and the citizens he helped will be his legacy.

Yes, we know there is little solace in that for you and your siblings at the moment, but it is the best we have to offer in times like this. You father was well liked, well respected and a mentor to many. And he loved you like crazy. Always be as proud of him as he was of you.





Author: Chief

Owner and Author of Charleston Thug Life. Chief started this website back in March of 2012 to shine the light on the Criminals of Charleston.

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  • Andy

    Tears in my coffee. Thank you for such a fitting tribute to a well-respected man and father. His photo of his little boy is heart-wrenching. For those of you who are aware of a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for his biological children - it has been stopped and all donations are being refunded to their respective parties….all because of adult drama. That, my friends, makes me sick. RIP Mr. Joe…

  • Wonderd0g

    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9.
    I offer gratitude and prayers to Sgt. Matuskovic and all our law enforcement officers.

  • gottarespond

    Rest in Peace Joe and watch over your loved ones.

  • Karyn Miller Allen

    I have no words- in tears- beautifully written- we lost a hero.

  • Irish

    There has been another go fund me set up, unfortunately someone who had nothing to do with the family misrepresented themselves, interjected themselves for their own purposes and took it upon themselves to hijack the original site, which led to the refunding. I’ve been assured by someone who is also an on duty death survivor that his children will be taken care of. However there are several fund raisers right now and these children need to be taken care of now in the short term while the rest gets worked out. God bless this entire family, his fiancee, his children, step-children, and his fellow officers.

  • Christopher Neal

    Powerful stuff.