Mother offers reward for information in fatal accident
By Matthew Stewart | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The mother of a William Blount High School junior who was killed last year in a train accident wants answers.
“I know as much now as I did 10½ months ago,” said Martina Kayo, mother of the late Jessie Heinz Jenkins. He and Kevin Ray Stinnett were killed March 31, 2012, when they were struck by a train.
“We need answers,” Kayo said. “We have absolutely nothing.”
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the train accident is still ongoing.
Jenkins’ blood alcohol test and toxicology screen came back clean, Kayo said. The 18-year-old didn’t have any drugs or alcohol in his system.
She is currently working to produce a cash reward for “helpful, accurate and verifiable information” about the two high-schoolers’ deaths. All information will be turned over to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.
For the past four months, the mother has made and sold bracelets and monkey’s fists in an effort to generate reward funds. All proceeds are earmarked for the reward, and Kayo’s boyfriend, Randy Standridge, plans to match funds up to $1,000.
The mother has already raised $1,000, and she plans to offer a reward of at least $2,000. Any business or private individual who wishes to donate toward the reward can make a donation to the Jessie Jenkins Memorial Fund at any Alcoa Tenn Federal Credit Union.
Kayo also recently built a memorial for her son on the side of an embankment leading up to the railroad tracks near Clover Hill and Binfield roads. The memorial reads: “Jessie H. Jenkins. Son I Love You.”
The letters H and I sit on top of each other, recreating the International Harvester Company logo. Jenkins, who was passionate about tractors and trucks, liked the American manufacturer.
During Christmas, the mother spent two weeks working on the memorial. She notched, stained, painted and clear coated it. Kayo and Standridge installed the memorial about two weeks ago.
“It kept me busy,” Kayo said. “It kept my head off things. It’s a sad thing that we had to put it up for a child. He’d be proud of it, though.”
She hopes the memorial will bring increased visibility to Jenkins’ death. “I feel like everybody has given up on him. However, I’m a grieving mother. I want to know what happened. I lay awake, thinking about my boy.”
Kayo had a particularly difficult time this past week, because Jenkins’ birthday was on Saturday. He would have been 19 years old.
“It’s the first birthday without him,” she said. “It’s hard on me. My boy is gone, and I know that somebody out here has seen something or heard something. I hope and pray that I’ll get some answers.”
Kayo also wanted to publicly thank community members for their thoughts, prayers and support.