Who killed Kay Lynn Jackson?

Who killed Kay Lynn Jackson? »Play Video
Kay Lynn Jackson
BOISE - The tips still come in.

But after more than a decade, it's now a trickle, instead of a flood. For the Boise Police Department, the case of Kay Lynn Jackson is still a mystery. But authorities also believe it's one that can still be cracked.

The Boise Greenbelt was a much different place when Kay Lynn Jackson, 22, was raped and killed 11 years ago. And some of the safety enhancements over the past decade are a direct result of Kay Lynn's case. But there's also reason to believe her killer can still be caught.

"We went on a vacation for a week and got back, everyone went back to resuming their normal lives," says Terry Jackson, Kay Lynn's father.

But things would never be normal again for the Jackson family. On a rainy Palm Sunday morning in 1998, on her way to church, Kay Lynn Jackson was raped and murdered along the Boise Greenbelt.

"Nobody witnessed what happened to Kay Lynn," says Lynn Hightower, spokeswoman for the Boise Police Department. "There were people who said they saw someone in the area, but how that crime could have been committed in such a public place under a bridge, on a very popular stretch of the greenbelt, and no one saw it was really a frustration and a mystery for detectives."

"If anyone did see it, they have not come forward with that vital piece of information that would lead investigators to a suspect."

Sketches were released by police shortly after the crime, and in 2002 a friend of Jackson told CBS 2 Kay Lynn met a homeless man she was trying to help shortly before her murder.

"We all knew she was meeting him on the Greenbelt, on Palm Sunday," says Jennifer Hellyer. "Neither of them showed up at church, and he was seen at Lucky Peak the next day asking for a ride out of town."

That man has never been located.

Boise Police say the Greenbelt is now safer, and part of the credit goes to the memory of Kay Lynn. Before her killing, police say along the Greenbelt consisted of a single school resource officer who patrolled in a squad car, and only during the summer months.

Today, the Greenbelt is staffed year round with 70 volunteers and six full time Boise officers patrolling on bicycles.

"We're so mobile we can get places patrol cars can't get," says Sergeant Clair Walker, "and we can get there faster, and they don't see us coming."

The changes have made a difference. Boise Police tell CBS 2, over the past decade overall crime has gone down on the Greenbelt despite the Treasure Valley's population boom.

"Today, we absolutely like to think the Greenbelt is a much safer place, partly in response to what Kay Lynn's family has gone through."

Kay Lynn's family says holidays are the hardest time of year.

"We just try to keep her memory in our hearts," says Kathleen Jackson, Kay Lynn's sister. Kay Lynn's father Terry is still hoping for a break in the case. "All I can say is, if somebody knows something, just please let us know."

DNA evidence was collected from the crime scene, and Hightower says if Kay Lynn's killer is still alive, police believe he'll be caught one day through a DNA match. Hightower says the original detective who worked the case still follows up on every lead, trying to bring Kay Lynn's killer to justice.

If you have any information about this case call Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS.