Family and friends have rock painting event for 20th anniversary of Jason’s disappearance

Updated: Jun. 13, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Twenty years ago, Jason Jolkowski, disappeared without a trace from Omaha. Friends and family gathered today with a message, they’re not giving up hope.

For 10 years, the tree has grown tall, its roots running deep. Shading a plaque with Jason Jolkowski’s name beneath it.

”This tree and this plaque was planted in 2011 on the 10 year anniversary of Jason’s disappearance,” said Donita Say, Jason’s cousin.

Now a decade later, the tree served as a meeting spot for Jason’s friends and family.

“That’s a big milestone to hit and a little sad memory. But it’s also good to just keep his memory alive and to keep hope that we might have answers, someone might know something,” said Donita.

The rocks are more than decoration. They serve to connect people through the area to Jason’s hashtag, #FindJasonJ, and the details on his missing person’s case.

“It’s just really nice that people want to come and support. Again, that people remember to come and want to support our family as we continue to just not know answers,” said Donita.

Today’s grim anniversary is a hard one for Jason’s mother Kelly Murphy, who has since moved from the state.

”Unfortunately, with this mark, I will have not had him more years than I had him in my life since he disappeared at the age 19,” said Kelly.

As the rock painting wrapped up, Jason’s loved ones shared their favorite memories of him. One for each year he’s been gone.

His dad fondly remembering the first time his boy beat him in basketball.

”He had the biggest smile on his face for the next week, you know, that you couldn’t wipe off. So it really was incredible that he wouldn’t, you know, talk that smack back. He just took it all in stride and after that, I never could beat him,” said Jim Jolkowski.

His younger brother Michael thinks back on the big brother he never had the chance to grow up with.

”I remember when he started being a radio DJ. To start with, he always got the crappy shifts and he didn’t have much of a following and he needed to fill time. So, he’d have me call in and pretend to be different people and make things up about the stuff I had seen,” said Michael.

Each person laying their rock on top of Jason’s plaque all hoping for answers.

“Dear Lord, hear me in my plea. I ask you if it be your will for the quick and safe return of Jason and all other missing persons to their loved ones.”

Jason’s father took a moment to speak about Ryan Larsen, the missing 12-year-old from La Vista who disappeared a month ago after leaving school early. The father asked everyone in attendance today to show support for his family as they deal with the trauma and unknown of a disappearance.

”We don’t know about Jason, so anyone that knows something, we need you to come forward. It’s the same as the people in Papillion, the Larsen’s. You know, they need someone to come forward also and to help alleviate their pain,” said Jim.

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