Welcome To Plathville: The Tragic Death Of Joshua Plath

"Welcome to Plathville" stars Barry and Kim have been married for more than 20 years, and their relationship is built on the rock-solid foundation of unwavering faith in God above all else. In every aspect of their daily lives, whether it's raising their nine children, tackling the work on the rural Georgia farm they call home, home-schooling, or even managing the family band, the Plath parents trust their faith in the Lord to guide them in all matters big and small.

Still, there are some things that even devotion to a higher power can't prepare you for and, when their youngest son, Joshua, just 17 months old, perished in an unimaginably tragic incident on their own property, Barry and Kim found their faith tested like never before. As Woman's Day notes, during an episode of "Welcome to Plathville," the family matriarch recalled how, immediately after discovering what had happened to her little boy, "I had just seen him and I thought it was okay." 

Joshua Plath died in a tragic farm accident

"Welcome to Plathville" follows the Plath parents and their nine kids; Ethan, Hosanna, Micah, Moriah, Lydia, Isaac, Amber, Cassia, and Mercy, as well as Ethan's somewhat controversial wife, Olivia. The Plath children follow strict rules in the household, from staying away from technology to never indulging in sugary drinks. However, beneath the veneer of peaceful harmony, there's a massive wound that may never be healed.

As Kim recalls on the Plath family website, it was fall 2008, and she was busy moving trees using the family's Suburban (via Starcasm). "I looked for our 17-month-old Joshua, saw that he was away from the vehicle, then pulled forward to get the next tree. In a panic, I realized what had happened. I ran over our Joshua," she admitted. Kim then says she, "Lived the next hour nonstop in my brain for the next 8 months."

Welcome to Plathville's Kim and Barry healed through their faith

Barry hurried home from work, but poor Joshua had passed away before he arrived. On the family site, Kim describes what happened next as, "Hell on earth," noting she barely functioned and even wanted to die at times. She couldn't even hear her son's name. Still, in spite of everything, Barry stuck by her, never throwing out accusations or making Kim feel worse for what had happened. As she describes it, "He was strong. He just loved me."

The mother of nine credits her unshakable faith with getting her through such a difficult time, explaining how God ultimately healed her. "God has been so faithful to our family for getting us through such a horrific event. He has indeed fully restored our joy. And we are forever grateful!" she wrote. According to the Thomasville Times-Enterprise, Joshua Plath's death was officially ruled an accident by the local sheriff's office.

Kim opened up about Joshua's death with her daughters

During Season 2 of "Welcome to Plathville," Kim opened up about the tragedy more than ever before. Kim even admitted, "If there is one moment in my entire life I could live over and redo, that is it." While working in the kitchen with her three youngest daughters, the little girls questioned what exactly what had happened to Joshua. Kim laid it out as plainly as she could, describing it as "an accident on the farm." She then recalled how Joshua ran behind the vehicle in the split second after Kim had checked to see he was safely out of the way and, as a result, she accidentally hit him. 

In a discussion with producers, the dedicated matriarch revealed she still feels incredibly guilty about what happened. "I probably am my biggest accuser and that was a battle that I dealt [with] the first year that he died. I was pretty much just shut down," she advised. At least the youngest Plath kids weren't around when the incident occurred, or to witness their mom's deep depression immediately afterwards.

Barry and Kim Plath are looking to the future

It's been over a decade since Joshua's death, but Barry and Kim still feel it like it was yesterday. However, they acknowledged that, with everything else going on in Plathville — Ethan refusing to speak to them, Micah and Moriah moving out, etc. — maybe it's time to move on. After deciding to visit their little boy's grave, the Plath parents realized they should celebrate his 17 months of life rather than obsessing over the sad details of Joshua's passing, and involve the younger kids in it, too. Kim also acknowledged Joshua would be 13 now. 

She and Barry reminisced about how good he was as a kid, and Barry stated, "We can just celebrate that we had 17 months to just be with him, and he with us." Although he acknowledged Joshua's "premature departure," looking at the bigger picture, the proud father advised it was better they got to know him at all. As with everything Plath-related, however, Twitter fans are calling Kim and Barry's recollection into question, with many arguing the details of Joshua's death don't add up. A couple even suggested the kitchen moment was scripted for the show.  

Barry and Kim aren't immune to difficulty

While Kim and Barry Plath have survived the tough times together, the couple are calling it quits. In a statement to People, the "Welcome to Plathville" stars announced that their marriage — which was at the center of the family life — was coming to a close. This isn't the first scandal to hit the family, as a number of the Plath children have struck out on their own, abandoning the family's strict way of life. 

"After considerable thought and discussion, we have decided to end our marriage," the couple announced in a statement. "While this was not an easy decision, we know it's the best choice for both of us. We have been through many highs and lows in our 24 years of marriage and as we navigate this new chapter in our lives, we will co-parent our amazing children."