- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - Nearly 3½ years since they lost their 7-year-old daughter to a fatal shooting, one family wants the community to remember their child for one of her best traits.

Kimi Jackson and her sister, Judi Ballard, are starting a nonprofit group, Kisses for Kristyana, to honor Kimi’s daughter, Kristyana Jackson.

Kristyana was shot when she and her mother were assaulted by three men just outside their home in August 2012. She died two days later.

The suspects fled the scene and have not been identified.

Sgt. Chris Snyder, of the Elkhart Police Department, said the case is still active and detectives will follow up on any leads as they come, but there are no new updates.

“We know there are individuals out there who have first-hand knowledge of what happened that tragic night,” he said. “We are asking for those individuals to stop cowering and come forward with the information. It is time for the Jackson family to have some closure to the death of their precious daughter, Kristyana.”

Now, the family wants the community to remember Kristyana, and not just her name, but what kind of person she was.

This year, Kimi Jackson and her family adopted two families to give them presents for the holidays. They found the two families through the Elkhart Community Schools and began asking the community to donate items for those families.

“It’s just something that we’ve been wanting to do,” Ballard explained. “Kristyana was a giving child, a very loving child. She would give her toys to other kids and stuff like that. And Christmas was her favorite holiday, and it was always about family.”

Collecting items for the families they adopted was not difficult. They spread word about their adoption of the two families through social media. Their friends, family and other people from the community brought money, clothes and toys. A friend of the family brought mountain bikes for one of the families.

Kimi Jackson said all her friends and family who have heard about their idea to start a nonprofit have given positive feedback.

“We’ve had nothing but support because they know it’s based around kids,” she said. “So everyone is ready to help support.”

The family recently met with a lawyer to begin the process of making Kisses for Kristyana a nonprofit organization, Ballard said. The family hopes their work this year to gather donations to help needy families will be the kickoff that launches the nonprofit.

The family’s goal in creating the nonprofit is to help children in any way - from a child in need of school uniforms and supplies to a family that just lost everything.

“We want to show to people that this is what we plan to do, this is true to our hearts,” Ballard said.

Kimi Jackson and her family know about needing and receiving from the community.

“People helped us when my daughter died,” Kimi Jackson said. “We raised a lot of money just to bury our child. I know what it’s like to need the money and not have it.”


Source: The Elkhart Truth, https://bit.ly/1mL3h5V


Information from: The Elkhart Truth, https://www.elkharttruth.com

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