KENTUCKY (FOX 56) — It’s now been 10 years since 33-year-old Bardstown officer Jason Ellis was killed in the line of duty, and the community is still searching for answers.
Ellis was traveling home just before 3 a.m. on the night of May 25, 2013, when he came across branches obstructing the road at exit 34 of the Bluegrass Parkway in Bardstown. Authorities believe Ellis got out of his vehicle to clear the roadway, then was shot several times.
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The following day, Kentucky State Police announced in a press conference that it’s believed Ellis’ killing was premeditated.
KSP said it’s likely debris was planted in the road to lure him to his death. The gunman was likely on a hill, per police, and it’s unknown if Ellis was targeted or the victim of a random shooting. His service weapon was still holstered and Ellis had no radio communications with dispatch in the minutes before his death.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, the police department is inviting the Bardstown community to gather at the police department to signify its continued search for closure and remember the fallen officer.
A memorial for Ellis was posted on the department’s Facebook page, where longtime friends, golf buddies, and co-workers recalled the laughs and sentimental moments they shared.
“Time cannot close our wounds,” his wife, Amy Ellis, told KSP. “We believe he has moved on to a better place, yet we remain here with the emptiness of our heartbreak. The crime is still unsolved. Someone somewhere can come forward.”
Ellis’ death was the first in a string of multiple mysterious deaths over a four-year span that remain unsolved.
Crystal Rogers has not been seen since the evening of July 3, 2015. Her vehicle was found abandoned with a flat tire at mile marker 14 on the Bluegrass Parkway in Bardstown on the same day she was reported missing.
Roger’s boyfriend, Brooks Houck, has been named a person of interest in her disappearance but has not been charged. Police Chief Rick McCubbin said Brook’s brother, Nick Houck, was fired from the Bardstown Police Department in October 2015 for interfering with the investigation.
Roger’s father, Tommy Ballard, died on Nov. 19, 2016, from a single bullet wound to his chest. Investigators said he was hit while stepping out of his pickup truck to take his grandson hunting on family property.
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In January 2023, special prosecutor Shane Young was appointed to pursue any potential criminal charges related to the Bardstown deaths of Ellis and Ballard, as well as Rogers’ disappearance.
Although police said they still get tips on the case, especially around the anniversary, they still don’t have answers. On May 17, the Bardstown Police Department again turned to the public for answers, announcing that the reward for any information that leads to an arrest in the killing of Jason Ellis had been increased to $217,000.
Authorities encourage anyone who may know something to call 1-800-CALLFBI or 502-263-6000 with any tips, or you can submit one here.