BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WAVE) - Six years after Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis was murdered on his way home from work, his family members continue a somber tradition.
One by one, they place white paper bags with blue candle lights along the Bluegrass Parkway at Exit 34, where Ellis exited around 3 a.m. on May 25, 2013.
Ellis stopped to clear debris from the exit ramp when he was shot multiple times and died.
He was a K-9 officer, but his dog wasn’t with him that morning.
Every year, his family members and friends light the ramp he took home to remember him.
“We do this every year to keep his memory alive," Nathan Phillips, Ellis’ brother-in-law, said. "To celebrate his life.”
Family and law enforcement officers gather to drive the same route Ellis took. The procession starts at the Bardstown Police department, goes past Exit 34 on the Bluegrass Parkway where Ellis was shot and ends at the cemetery where he is buried.
Phillips said after six years, it’s still on his mind all the time.
“It’s an every day thing, honestly," he said. "You think about it every day. It doesn’t get any better. Because we have nothing, no answers whatsoever.”
No arrests have been made in the case.
The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for Ellis’ death.
“He just was such a great guy and it’s hard on us what happened to him because, you know, you miss him everyday,” Phillips said.
Bardstown Police officers walk in to work and see memorials and photos of Ellis every day. They, too, can’t believe it’s been six years.
“We try to do our job the way Jason would want it to be done, as if he were here,” Bardstown officer Michael Clark said.
Clark was working with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office at the time of Ellis’ death. He and Ellis graduated from the academy together.
“Jason wasn’t just an officer. He was a friend,” Clark said. “More importantly, he would want to be known as a father and a husband.”