Kay Lynn Jackson archives: 'Senseless' killing torments parents

Idaho StatesmanMay 1, 2013 

This story originally appeared in the Idaho Statesman on April 9, 1998.

A Bible passage haunts Terry Jackson.

It comes to mind when he thinks of his daughter, Kay Lynn Jackson, who was slain as she walked to church along the Greenbelt on Sunday.

"It's that passage that reads, 'Blessed are the meek.' " Jackson said.

Through clenched teeth and tears, he whispered: "She was a lamb."

Police remained frustrated Wednesday over how such a gentle young woman could be the victim of so savage an act: Jackson was raped, choked and stabbed near the heart. Police developed one lead in the slaying Wednesday, circulating a sketch of a homeless man wanted for questioning.

Terry Jackson is frustrated, too.

"It was senseless. It was just senseless, " he said in the family's first interview since the killing. "There is no feeling in the world to describe what happened to this family.

"It just hurts so bad."

Kay Jackson's destination that day was the First Baptist Church. It was the center of the 22-year-old woman's quiet life.

The same church Friday becomes a focus of a community yearning for answers.

"I dread that, " Jackson's mother, Evelyn Jackson, said. "It's going to be very emotional."

The father, who works at a Nampa meatpacking plant and has served 24 years in the Army National Guard, struggled to finish sentences before breaking into tears.

Evelyn Jackson, an 11-year secretary for McMillan Elementary School, has been the rock of the family.

"She's always been a take charge sort of person, " her husband said. "I think it's her way of dealing with it."

Evelyn Jackson has lost her composure only a few times since Boise Detective Lance Anderson brought the news Sunday afternoon.

One of those times came Tuesday in the shower.

"I was reminded of something Kay had said."

She was shopping with Kay earlier this year when they passed a crematorium. "Kay looked at me and said, 'Mom, when I die, I want to be cremated - because it would be cheaper.' "

Instead, the family will give Kay Jackson something they can't afford - a funeral and burial.

The service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday at First Baptist, 607 N. 13th St.

"We are not going to honor her wish, " Evelyn Jackson said. "I felt I had to do it this way for me."

Kay Jackson was 4 when her family moved to Boise from Baker City, Ore. She graduated from Borah High School and told friends she was saving money from her job as night auditor at a downtown motel to attend Boise State University.

She had no steady boyfriend. She read armloads of books.

Quiet, yet strong-willed, she lived with her older sister, Kathleen, who was her best friend and longtime playmate.

"I called the two girls my little characters, " Kay's grandmother, Vinnie Givens, said.

She told a story about the girls on a long-ago family outing. Kathleen and Kay were very young and stayed in the car. They became hungry and reached over the front seat for some potato chips.

"Evelyn corrected them and told them they had to ask me first, " Givens said. "Kay said, 'But Grandma lets us characters do what we want.' "

The family's youngest daughter, 10-year-old Jennifer, joined the older sisters and parents last week for a trip to the Oregon coast. They saw the famous killer whale, Keiko.

The family returned to Boise last Thursday.

"It was the last time we saw her, " Terry Jackson said. "At least we got the vacation together."

Both the National Guard and McMillan School employees have offered assistance to the Jackson family. Teachers passed the hat and gathered $1,200 Tuesday for Evelyn Jackson and her family.

She works as a secretary but volunteers her time coordinating the school crossing guards, serving as adviser to the student council and working with special education students.

"There is no one more loyal to helping kids than she, " said Donna Battazzo, who teaches at McMillan. "To have this happen to people who try to make a difference - it's just not fair."

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