LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Amy Ellis said life was good until the night gunfire took her husband and shattered her life and the lives of her children.
The widow of fallen Bardstown Police officer Jason Ellis, she saw her life change in an instant five years ago.
"We were in love," she said. "We had a happy marriage. We had hopes and dreams and a future we had planned ... my kids had their dad. When that was taken from me, our whole world was turned upside down and shattered. I no longer had the hopes and dreams. My kids will never have their dad."
Amy Ellis was 30 years old when her husband was shot and killed. The boys, Parker and Hunter, were only 6 and 7 years old when they were robbed of their dad on May 25, 2013.
"I think every year I'm in a better place, but it never fails," she said. "The weather starts changing, the smell in the air, it brings you back to the day before, and then you just relive it, and it plays over in your head. Parker is playing baseball, and just this past week, being at the field kind of brought back the smells and the feel. The very last place I saw Jason was at the baseball field."
Jason Ellis, a former baseball player himself, coached his son's team just hours before he was murdered.
"He was working that night, so he had his uniform on, and he was coaching like normal," Amy Ellis said.
He left abruptly when duty called during a busy night for police on a holiday weekend. Amy Ellis remembers being frustrated because he didn't say goodbye.
After he left, the baseball game ended, and Amy Ellis took the boys home.
"Parker and I fell asleep on the couch like we normally did, and I do remember him calling, but we were already asleep," she said. "And I remember him saying, 'I love you' and 'I love you too,' and that was it."
At about 2 a.m., Jason Ellis signed off, making his final call to dispatch.
Amy Ellis carried Parker to bed and returned to the couch where she normally slept until her husband got home.
"The next thing I know, I'm getting a knock on the door, and I remember thinking, 'Why is he knocking? He must have lost his keys,'" she said. "I don't even know what time it was."
But it wasn't her husband.
"I go to the door, and it's the chaplain and another officer," she recalled. "I remember opening the door, and they told me he was in an accident, and I said, 'Is he OK?'"
A passerby reported the discovery of Jason Ellis' body on his own police radio. He was ambushed, shot to death as he cleared brush from his path on Exit 34 on the Bluegrass Parkway, just minutes from his home.
"I worried," Amy Ellis said. "Did he lay there? Did he suffer? Did anyone bother him or torture him or anything ... the terrible things that come to mind. But they told me he didn't suffer, because he didn't even see it coming. I was thankful for that, that he didn't suffer."
She tearfully remembers the first few days after his death.
"It was awful," she said. "I remember just thinking, 'I cannot live. I can't live. I can't go on. I can't do this.'"
Her faith and the outpouring of support from officers, friends, family and strangers carried her through the darkest days of her life. But five years later, the mystery remains unsolved: Who killed Jason Ellis and why?
"I don't know why," Amy Ellis said. "The case has been so deeply investigated, and it just doesn't make any sense."
It leaves the Ellis' with questions and fears. One of the boys worries he'll be killed in the middle of the night.
"It's scary, and of course I would like to have answers and closure," she said. "I can't imagine being face-to-face with the person who did it. I would like for them to come forward and pay for what they did."
And Amy Ellis has a simple answer for why the case is still unsolved: a lack of evidence. She feels it's important to talk now, because it's been five years with no arrests.
"I don't want people to forget that, No. 1, it's not solved. And No. 2, I don't want people to forget how amazing he was as a person and a husband, brother, son and officer," she said.
Jason Ellis is still very much a part of their lives and a visible presence in their home and the boys' rooms, in pictures and scrapbooks.
The boys are now 11 and 12. Amy said they're doing well but still coping with the loss.
"They're doing good," she said. "They're happy, and that's the way I'm trying to help them, to see that you can remember your dad and the amazing man he was, but he would not want us to just lay down and die and just give up. He'd want us to live a good life, and that's what I'm trying to do."
And Amy Ellis thinks her husband would approve of a new development in her life; she's recently engaged.
"It was not what I expected, and I know in his life either, but God had bigger plans for us," she said. "We met through a mutual friend, and it was instant. He's been very supportive in allowing the boys and me to honor Jason, and that's been a very important part."
The relationship comes with the blessing of Ellis' family.
"They welcomed him with open arms, and everyone has said if Jason could pick someone, it would be him," Amy Ellis said.
Amy said the murder and the loss have given her a new perspective on life.
"I don't take anything for granted," she said. "I live each day like it will be my last, telling your loved ones that you love them every time you part. You love harder, you feel more and don't take anything for granted."
She's been forced to move forward, but she said she is never forgetting. And she's now on a mission with one final appeal for the person who murdered her husband.
"I'm just hoping that by me speaking for the first time, I feel I'm finally in a better place where I can, and I'm ready, and I hope it will stir somebody's conscience, and they'll come forward."
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