Kim Conover was trying to leave a bad marriage, but was confronted with a partner who was not willing to let her go and had started stalking her, including showing up at the school where she worked, according to a family member.
“She was trying to raise her kids and being with him was not the best way she could do that,” said a family member who did not want to identify herself in order to protect her privacy. “She was doing her best to get away from him and just trying to put her kids first.”
Conover, 43, was Kevin Conover, 41, Sunday outside her attorney's office on Keller Street. On Monday her divorce attorney Jeffrey Zimmerman told Petaluma Patch that Kim had put in an application for a restraining order at the Sonoma County Superior Court, but that it had not yet been approved at the time of her murder.
The family member who spoke to Patch described Kevin Conover as a negative influence on Kim, someone who had not held a job for many years.
“He couldn’t just kill himself, he had to take her too,” said the family member, fighting back tears. “What he did speaks for itself to what kind of a person he was.”
Both Kim and Kevin graduated from Petaluma High School and met through Kevin's sister. They had been married for about two years and leave behind 18-months twins, a boy and a girl. Conover also has two daughters, 12 and 15, from a previous relationship.
Reached by phone Monday morning, Kevin Conover's mother, Jean, declined comment, but the family later issued a statement, saying they were devastated by what happened.
"Our hearts go out to the Baucom and Sullivan (the last name of Kim's ex-husband) families for their senseless loss; especially to Kim’s daughters. We appreciate and are eternally grateful for the love and support being shown in the community for all of us impacted by this tragedy."
Friends described Kim Conover as fun, energetic and whip-smart, a second grade teacher at Meadow Elementary, a position she has held for the last 12 years. Conover loved her job, in part because it gave her the chance to teach kids how to read.
“She was really smart, kind, a lot of fun and somebody set high goals for herself,” she said. “And she was a great teacher.”
Grievance counselors are at Meadow Elementary today to help students deal with the sudden loss, said Waugh District Superintendent Robert Cmelak, and will stay on campus “as long as necessary.”
Conover’s class will be taken over by first grade teachers at the school in order to give the students a familiar face as they cope with the new.
“Kim has taught hundreds of kids at Waugh,” said Cmelak. “She had an amazing smile that lit up the room. She will be greatly missed."