Reward in Amber Jackson case keeps it from going cold

LIHU‘E — Saturday, June 23, marked the second-anniversary of the murder of Kapa‘a resident Amber Ellis Jackson, 57. The case has yet to produce an arrest or conviction of a suspect.

Friends and family held vigil on Kaua‘i and in California. It is their hope that a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer, will draw attention to the crime and stir memories in people who might come forward to assist the investigation.

“It’s the two-year anniversary and we are remembering her with a memorial in Marin County, just north of San Francisco where Amber is from,” said Nancy Murphy, a long-time friend of Jackson. “We are going to have a small memorial celebration of her life on July 1, at a place called Angel Island. She used to love to go there.”

As Kaua‘i’s most recent cold-case, the memory of the victim and the violent way in which she died is not forgotten with friends, family or the police.

“We are just trying to not let her be forgotten,” Murphy said.

The friends said the past two years have been difficult. They would like to conduct more public outreach but that is not possible.

The Kaua‘i Police Department reassure the friends that the investigation continues. They don’t want to jeopardize it by advertising every new lead they have for a suspect or a clue.

Jackson’s friends applauded the recent announcement that the Kaua‘i Prosecuting Attorney and KPD received a $100,000 grant to start Ke Ahi Pio‘ole (the fire that never burns out), Hawai‘i’s first prosecutor-directed cold-case murder unit. It will allow for two experienced prosecutors and two senior KPD investigators to work on several cold cases.

Friends of Jackson hope that investigators will crack the case using new DNA technology and forensic techniques, working with homicide consultants, and re-interviewing witnesses.

Around 10 relatives and close friends of Jackson on Kaua‘i and on the Mainland have formed the Amber Jackson Justice Group.

They keep in touch with police and prosecutors and work to bring media attention to Jackson’s case and other unsolved murders on Kaua‘i.

Murphy said she met Jackson in the 1970s when she moved to the Bay Area from her native Marin County. They became best friends working together at a seminary, treatment centers and other jobs.

Jackson moved to Kaua‘i in 2000 and Murphy said she and other friends visited her each year. Jackson last visited the Mainland in 2009 for her birthday.

Jackson was a Riverside, Calif. native had a bachelor’s degree and worked at several treatment center for drug and alcohol abuse. She was on Kaua‘i for about 10 years, working as an administrator for Summers Realty and the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association.

She was brutally murdered on or about June 23, 2010. Her body was discovered in a remote, wooded area of Kealia.

Close friends say that Jackson was planning to move back to California around the time of the murder. She had friends and co-workers on Kaua‘i, the Big Island and California.

Jackson’s friends included a number of women who continue working to make sure the case is solved and that other women are not victimized.

If you have information contact Crime Stoppers at 808-241-1887.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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