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Murder of Bardstown officer remains unsolved on 3rd anniversary of his death

Published: May. 25, 2016 at 2:35 PM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2016 at 4:31 AM EDT
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Officer Jason Ellis (Source: Bardstown Police Department)
Officer Jason Ellis (Source: Bardstown Police Department)
The patrol car Jason Ellis was driving parked at the scene of his murder. (Source: Air 3, WAVE...
The patrol car Jason Ellis was driving parked at the scene of his murder. (Source: Air 3, WAVE 3 News)

BARDSTOWN, KY (WAVE) - It's been three long years since Officer Jason Ellis was shot and killed on his way home from work.

Time hasn't made the loss of Officer Ellis easier, but what would help would be answers. That would turn the focus of a day like this, to a tribute, rather than a reminder that a killer walks free.

Kris Phillips sets up flowers at her son in law's final resting place, marking another milestone - three years gone.

"Jason loved what he did, he was happy, wonderful marriage, wonderful children, wonderful life," Phillips said. "He was living that dream. He was at the top of his game."

During the early morning hours of Saturday, May 25, 2013, Ellis was shot as he removed brush on the Bluegrass Parkway exit 34 ramp. Police suspect the debris had been put on the roadway deliberately so Ellis would stop.

Just by chance, his partner K9 Officer Figo was not with him.

"I know Jason loved what he did and he was very good at it and Figo was a big part of that," Phillips said.

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Focusing on drug arrests, every day Ellis and Figo went to work. During the funeral, a picture captured that bond, one that proves the meaning of man's best friend.

"All of sudden his life was totally abruptly changed and for a working dog, that's traumatic," Phillips said.

Phillips now cares for the 10-year-old German Shepherd, who retired right after Ellis' death.

"I think that anybody that looks at Figo can tell he has really aged and I think grieving is part of that," Phillips said.

He's not alone. Look around Bardstown and you'll see many shops still have pictures of Ellis in their windows. Store owner Buddy Gulden took it a step further.

"This is just a way of me letting everybody know, the tourists that come in here and I told this story probably a thousand times of what happened," Gulden said.

Just waiting for the day, he'll be able to tell people, how it ends.

"I don't want Bardstown to forget him," Gulden said.

Rick McCubbin, the retiring Bardstown police chief, said it's the most painful case of his entire career.
 
"If it's never solved, it will haunt me my entire life," said McCubbin.

As to who is responsible, McCubbin said his best guess is someone with mental health issues.

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"Why I think that is that nothing has come forward," McCubbin said. "The community bailed out a $100,000 reward fund, still sitting there and it has not generated a hint or a clue."
 
In the days and months after Ellis' murder, a reward fund increased to $185,000 for information leading to an arrest.
 
It's a case Kentucky State Police refuse to allow to go cold. About 30 law enforcement officers are involved in this case with one primary detective devoted almost exclusively to solving Ellis' murder.

Ellis left behind his wife Amy and two young sons.

Anyone with any information on Ellis' murder is asked to either text information to 67283 with the letters KSPTIP in the text body followed by your information, contact Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555 or email your tip to EllisCasetips@ky.gov.

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