BARDSTOWN, Ky. — It has been 3,652 days since Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis was shot dead on the cold pavement of a Bluegrass Parkway exit ramp. Ten years later, the case remains unsolved and his community remains devastated.
It’s a day forever etched into the minds and spirits of the people in Bardstown, Kentucky—the day America's "Most Beautiful Small Town" became the site of one of the country’s most perplexing unsolved mysteries in recent memory.
Ask anyone who calls the bourbon capital of the world home, and they’ll tell you those memories stick just as intensely as the unanswered questions.
"Day one turned our family upside down, in a moment our lives were suddenly changed forever," Kelly Eastman, Ellis's sister said. "Leaving us to navigate unspeakable heartbreak and endless questions. So many questions and the most important question of who and why?"
While theories and what-ifs linger, time does not.
That sobering reality was emphasized by Jason's wife, Amy Ellis-Brown -- who has since remarried -- but still finds solace in tributes that keep his spirit alive.
"It is not only important for his family and friends but especially important to his sons that he left behind," Ellis-Brown said. "His sons who were six and seven when he was tragically taken, and now who are grown young men at 16 and 17."
It was standing room only in the Bardstown Police Department's parking lot, as hundreds came together to honor the fallen officer.
"Ten years later we know that those who truly loved Jason understand that he will be more than just a memory," Eastman said.
Just as much was evident from the outpouring of support shown Thursday, from the heart of Bardstown, all the way out to Chaplin, Kentucky, where Ellis can be found in his final resting place.
Gathered together, gazing down at his grave, Ellis's family is steadfast in their belief, justice will come for their fallen hero.
Countless law enforcement officers spoke at the memorial. They say many men and women are working day in and day out to solve Ellis's murder.
Until then, they will not rest.
Jason Ellis's End of Watch
The date was May 25, 2013. Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis just finished working a shift with the Bardstown Police Department.
As Ellis drove down a deserted Bluegrass Parkway, en route to home, he saw something unusual. There were tree branches blocking the Exit 34 off-ramp.
It was well past midnight — nearly 3 a.m. But, Ellis still decided to pull over and clear the debris, despite having just signed off for the night.
As he worked to move the branches, someone shot the officer several times, ultimately killing him.
Investigators determined Ellis had been ambushed, and the killer strategically placed tree limbs on the road to lure him out of his patrol car.
Another driver later found Ellis’ body and patrol car in the middle of the road.
His murder prompted an investigation that remains ongoing a decade later.
The FBI has a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for Ellis’ death.
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