SAN ANTONIO – Patty Ojeda says her grandson, Josiah Williams, would be 14 years old now if he hadn’t died at the age of 5 from abuse and neglect at the hands of his father, step-mother and step-grandmother, who are all serving prison time.
Ojeda says her grandson died thinking he wasn’t wanted or loved by anyone.
“Josiah thought the lowest of himself, that he wasn’t loved, he was a bad boy, nobody loved him, nobody wanted him -- because this is what they were putting in his head,” she said. “My grandson died thinking he wasn’t loved at all.”
Ojeda said she had been trying desperately to find her grandson to see him but was kept away from him. She had custody of the child until the father filed for temporary custody and was granted it. Six months later, Josiah was dead.
All Ojeda says she has left is the will to show other children in the foster system that they are loved. Her family fundraises for school supplies and other items for kids at the Children’s Shelter.
Ojeda said her volunteer work keeps her going and Josiah’s memory alive.
“We’ve continued to have drives, donation drives for the Children’s Shelter, to let them know, you know, they are loved by somebody, that they do matter and not to think what happened to them is something they deserve,” she said.
Ojeda is also doing her part to urge adults to speak up on behalf of abused children.
“If you see a child not being treated like a child, being talked to ugly -- because if they talk to him like that in public, who knows what they do at home -- report it,” she said.
Ojeda said she wonders how Josiah’s life would have been different if the people who witnessed his abuse would have spoken up. She encourages those who have walked in her shoes to get involved and make a difference by speaking up on behalf of abused children.
“One person can’t do it alone. But together, we can all make a difference,” she said.
If you suspect child abuse, call local law enforcement or the state abuse hotline at 800-252-5400.
Next Wednesday, KSAT will be hosting a Child Abuse Townhall at 2 p.m. on KSAT.com. Click here to learn more about the event.