BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Four years after their son’s murder, a Hamilton couple is turning their tragedy into charity by running a non-profit in honor of their late son, Jaylon Knight.
For Serina and Paul Knight, March 11, 2016 will live in infamy. Police said someone shot and killed Jaylon that day along Charles Street in Hamilton.
The 18-year-old, the youngest of the Knights three children, was discovered dead in his car just after 6 a.m.
“He was probably trying to flee because he turned the wheels, and his car rolled into a house, front porch," Serina said.
Jaylon died just two months before his high-school’s graduation.
“He wasn’t a troubled kid. He worked part time, went to school part time, and then he played sports. Outside of that, he played video games," Serina said.
Jaylon’s life may have been taken, but his light and his legacy have lived on, especially in his parents’ home, where mementos and memorials line their walls.
“We were blessed to have him," Serina said. "He was funny. He was a jokester. He liked to dance and sing.”
Four years after Jaylon’s murder, Hamilton detectives say they are still working the case.
Every day, the Knights pray for an arrest.
“My goal before I leave this earth is to find out who or why," Serina said.
Although their sorrow has been suffocating at times, Jaylon’s relatives are choosing to focus their energy in another direction. They have launched a non-profit, Just Us 4 Jaylon.
Their mission, Serina says, is to help other families who have also been left heartbroken by homicide.
“When there’s a homicide, insurance doesn’t always pay," Serina said. "Moneys are needed right away, and you have to do fundraising, and only thing I could think of was ‘Justice,’ but I spelled it ‘just us,’ because those that are involved are a part of the ‘us’ that’s actually trying to get justice.”
Through scholarships, fundraisers and events like their upcoming “J Day” basketball tournament, the Knights hope to inspire change and encourage love instead of hate. That’s something they say Jaylon always stood for.
“I know Jaylon’s honored, but he would expect nothing less, because that’s just the type of person that he is," Serina said. "I know that he’s proud.”
Hamilton Police said there is a $5,000 reward for information in Jaylon’s case. Anyone with information is asked to call them at (513) 868-5811.
The Just Us 4 Jaylon basketball tournament is from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sat., March 14 at the Woodlawn Recreation Center at 10050 Woodlawn Boulevard.
There will also be music, food, raffles and music at the event. To register for the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, Serina says they are always accepting donations to keep their non-profit running. Monetary donations can be made through any Fifth Third Bank location under the “Just Us 4 Jaylon Memorial Account.”
Donations can also be made through PayPal or Cash App under $justus4jaylon1838.
Anyone who would like to donate supplies can contact Serina via email@example.com.