When Joshua Carrier was growing up, his family didn't own any video games. While his dad focused on an Air Force career, Josh and his brother and sister tagged along with Mom as she dashed between coaching and referee jobs.
"They didn't have time for video games," Renate Carrier remembered in an interview with the Independent earlier this month. "Most of our time was spent in the gym or on the field."
During a 90-minute visit in the office of her son's attorney, Mrs. Carrier seemed almost serene, despite her middle child facing almost 200 charges of sex crimes against children.
Because she granted the interview on the condition that we not talk about the criminal case, she didn't speak of what toll all this has taken on her and her family. While her husband, Delos, works for NASA in Houston, she's living in Colorado Springs and attending Josh's court hearings with her mother.
A sporting life
With steady blue-gray eyes that betray a hint of sadness, Renate recounts a whirlwind life, moving from base to base and school to school, where she says Josh always found new friends and immersed himself in band, choir, drama and sports. Mostly sports.
Following his mom's passion — she was a physical education major at Trinity College in Deerfield, Ill. — Josh played basketball, volleyball, baseball and soccer, and also swam and ran track in high school. He wasn't a star. In track, he was a distance runner, "because he was slow and steady," she says with a chuckle. "Slow."
In basketball he did "OK," she says, mostly because he was tall and "a great team player."
She says she probably spent most of her time with Josh during his childhood and teen years, because the other kids were pre-occupied. Her daughter, the oldest, "was a brain" and read all the time; her younger son was "an athlete."
Josh was no problem. "I was always reffing, so he had to come with me to the gym," she says.
Baptized an evangelical Christian at age 6, he never got into trouble, she says. He didn't smoke, drink, do drugs, or run with the wrong crowd. He dated occasionally, went to prom, and pitched in when it was time to move again.
"If you had a flat tire or were stuck in a ditch," she says, "he would probably stop and help you. When he was a child, he would volunteer for everything: putting up chairs, sweeping the gym, setting up for a play, car washes, working in the kitchen, making sandwiches, whatever the need was."
His worst infraction, she says, was failure to clean his room, a point of friction between him and his father.
One of the few times she remembers him crying was when he broke his arm falling down stairs at school as a teen. His mother told him to "suck it up" and drove him home. "He was crying all the way," she says. The injury benched him during basketball season.
But she can't seem to say a bad word about her son. "With all that's happening, I've been going back in my mind, searching for a time of rebellion, and there isn't one," she says.
Enforcing the rules
Josh embraced sports, Renate believes, because he loved the clear delineation between fair or foul, hit or miss, win or lose. When he was called upon to referee a soccer game for his brother's team, he gave his own brother a yellow card (a penalty one step away from ejection) for a rules infraction.
Josh also saw no gray areas when it came to telling the truth, his mother says. "He couldn't understand that people would lie," she says. "He would come to me and say, 'They're lying. Why are they lying?' ... I told him that doesn't mean that we lie. We always tell the truth, no matter the outcome."
After Josh attended a Nazarene Bible college in Massachusetts for a semester, where he also worked as a security guard, he made his career choice. His mother wasn't surprised.
"Looking back on his life, as far as him being a rules person — 'This is right and this is wrong' — when he said he wanted to be a police officer, it just fit," his mother says. "In my eyes, that was Josh."
Josh thrived as an officer, but hit low points, too. She says he once called her, heartbroken, after working a traffic accident in which a child was killed.
Renate Carrier hasn't missed a hearing date for her son since the ordeal began with his arrest on May 11. And she visits him as often as she's allowed — every other day, without fail.
"I'm his mother," she says. "And he's my son."