Friday, December 19, 2014


A memorial sets at the corner of Kilbourn and Myrtle Streets for Kristyana Jackson Monday August 19, 2013, one year after she was killed. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

John and Kimi Jackson bow their heads in prayer for their daughter Kristyana Monday evening August 19, 2013 during a vigil for her. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

Kimi Jackson lights the flame in a heated balloon Monday evening August 19, 1013, at a vigil marking one year she lost her daughter Kristyana from a gun shot by intruders to their home. After they had just returned from the Central Memorial football game. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

John Jackson stands by a memorial to his daughter Kristyana as he speaks on camera Monday evening August 19, 2013 before the vigil for her. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

One of the many attendees to the vigil for Kristyana Jackson Monday evening August 19, 2013 wears a tee shirt with a picture of her. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

Kimi Jackson (center) releases a balloon Monday evening August 19, 2013 with a burning flame in it in memory of her daughter Kristyana who was shot and killed one year ago. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

Attendees to the vigil for Kristyana Jackson listens to Jermaine Sanders pastor of The Ol Rugged Fellowship Church Monday evening August 19, 2013. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

About 75 to 100 people get ready to release balloons Monday evening August 19, 2013 at the vigil for Kristyana Jackson one year after she was shot and killed at her home. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

Jermaine Sanders pastor of The Ol Rugged Fellowship Church leads a prayer at the Kristyana Jackson vigil Monday evening August 19, 2013. He is also an Elkhart City firefighter. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)
‘Beautiful spirit’ remembered
Posted on Aug. 19, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

ELKHART — Kristyana Jackson, 7, had a “beautiful spirit,” said the family, friends and supporters who honored her memory Monday evening at a vigil marking the one-year anniversary of her death.

Several dozen people gathered beneath the large oak trees outside the Jackson family’s home at 720 Kilbourn St. on Monday, Aug. 19.

Kristyana died Aug. 19, 2012, two days after she was shot in the head during an assault outside her home.

The case is still under investigation.

Jermaine Sanders, an Elkhart firefighter and pastor of The Ol Rugged Fellowship Church, offered a prayer for Kristyana’s family and for protection for the children of Elkhart.

Kimi and John Jackson, Kristyana’s parents, thanked the community for their support over the past year.

“This is unbelievable,” said Kristyana’s father, John Jackson, looking at the crowd. “People care and they’re showing it right here.”

Jeanette Barhams Dancler and Kenneth Barhams of Elkhart attended the vigil to support the Jacksons because they understand the pain of losing a child.

Barhams Dancler said Kimi Jackson reached out to her after her son, Braxton Barhams, 16, was killed in a drive-by shooting in June.

Barhams Dancler said she and Jackson speak regularly and Jackson “helps me through my bad days.”

“I couldn’t imagine (what it was like to lose a child) until it happened to me,” she said.

Rachell Clifford, 8, said her friend Kristyana “was so kind and always honest with me.”

“One day at school she said we could go on a bike ride together, but we could never go,” Clifford said, her eyes welling up with tears. “I miss her. We used to play on the swings all the time.”

After remarks from the Jackson family, the crowd moved out into the intersection of Kilbourn and Myrtle streets holding an assortment of balloons.

Kimi Jackson stood in the center of the crowd and lit a purple lantern. When she released it into the sky, the crowd released their balloons, which followed the lantern upward.