Elkhart family coping with loss, frustration two years after unsolved shooting death of young Kristyana Jackson

Kimi and John Jackson of Elkhart are frustrated. They want to see someone stand up and talk to solve their daughter’s shooting death in 2012.

Posted on Aug. 18, 2014 at 2:16 p.m.

ELKHART — Another year has passed for Kimi and John Jackson since their 7-year-old daughter, Kristyana, was killed outside their home. 

Time hasn’t helped much. If anything, the family has reached a new stage in their grieving process: anger and frustration.

Kristyana was shot in the head the night of Aug. 17, 2012, when she and her mother were assaulted outside their home in the city’s west side. She died two days later in the hospital.

Kimi and John Jackson invite the community to join them in releasing balloons and lanterns in Kristyana’s honor
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19
Who: Any member of the community who wishes to participate is welcome
Where: Outside the Jacksons’ home at Kilbourn and Myrtle streets, Elkhart

The Jacksons have found the motivation to try to move on in their younger son, John Jr., 2. But a break in the homicide investigation, — some justice — could help too, they said.

“I’m starting to be fed up,” Kimi said. “I can’t believe someone won’t say anything. Because I know somebody knows something.”

John too said frustration is building up because of the lack of response from possible witnesses.

“People have to understand. It was a 7-year-old baby,” he said. “I mean, seriously, no one wants to stand up and do the right thing?”

Michiana Crime Stoppers is offering a $6,000 reward for anyone who provides information that may lead to the arrest of the shooting suspects.

Anyone with information that could help the homicide investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-342-STOP or 574-288-STOP.

The reward was funded through the family and the community, and tipsters are not identified or asked to give their names.

“You can be anonymous and have money in your pocket, I could care less about that money,” Kimi said.

The family continues to keep in touch with the police department. Every now and then, detectives from the homicide unit will call and talk with the Kimi and John, giving them a brief update.

What they tell the Jacksons is limited because it is an active investigation. But they’ve also told the family to call, whether it’s to relay a tip or simply to vent, John said.

“They’ve always been open,” he said. “You may not get the answers you want, but you at least get to speak to somebody.”


Support from the community has not faded entirely. The family continues to receive letters with words of encouragement.

Several of the Jacksons’ friends on Facebook changed their profile pictures to portraits of Kristyana, Kimi said in an interview Saturday, August 16.

The support they’ve received from friends and others counters the rumors that every now and then circulate in the neighborhood and reach the family.

Kimi said the family has heard rumors — people speculating — as to why they were assaulted the night of Aug. 19, 2012, or why Kristyana was killed.

“Dealing with losing our child on top of having to hear other people that don’t know us speculate and put judgement on us is very hurtful,” she said.

Kristyana and Kimi had just returned home from a football game at Memorial High School when they saw two or three men approaching them.

John, who was inside the house with their younger son, heard Kimi screaming and went outside. Following an altercation, John tried to reach for Kristyana to shield her and they were both shot. John was taken to Elkhart General Hospital, where he was treated.

But rumors and the loss of their child are not the only things the family has to deal with. Kimi and John have both struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety.

“Every time I walk through that door, I can’t help but look left, look right, keep looking back until I’m in my house,” Kimi said.

“If I hear a bang or a pop, I turn my head around or flinch,” John added. “That’s just the way it is now.”

Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Sharon Hernandez on Twitter at @Sharon_HT

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