CARROLLTON, Ga -- It has been thirteen years since a University of West Georgia co-ed disappeared and was found dead a month later. No one has ever been charged with Toyal Jackson's murder.
Jackson's parents and the City of Carrollton have never forgotten and now the city is offering a $25,000 reward for the arrest of a suspect. Mayor Wayne Garner and the city police department will be announcing the reward at a news conference on Thursday.
It came as a pleasant surprise to Emma and Gene Jackson who said they have never given up hope that her killer will be arrested. Emma Jackson said it seems like her daughter was murdered only yesterday. "Emotionally I'm able to deal with it better than I was thirteen years ago," she said. "I can talk about it without crying."
But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt around this time of year. Toyal disappeared on October 29, 2000. "I still have that hurt right here in my heart," Emma Jackson said.
Toyal was a senior at the University of West Georgia. On October 29th, 2000, she returned to school after visiting her parents in Decatur for the weekend. Her mother said Toyal called her as soon as she drove back to school to let her know she made it back. It was the last time the Jacksons spoke to their daughter.
Two days later, Toyal's roommate called the Jackson's to tell them Toyal was missing. "That was the most devastating time I could think of because every day we would go back and forth to Carrollton to find out has anybody seen her," her mother said.
Thirty days later on November 30, 2000, a city of Carrollton worker found Toyal's decomposed body in a field, five miles from the university.
The only promising clue came from a local Walmart where a witness saw a man forcing a girl, fitting Toyal's description, into a red Nissan pickup truck. The witness gave a description to a GBI sketch artist.
Thirteen years later, no one has been held accountable for the death of the former high school athlete, star student and loving daughter, who wanted to be a teacher, just like her mother. "In that short period of time that she lived, she touched more lives than some people who live as long as a hundred years," Emma Jackson said.
"We'll never really know what she would have contributed, and that's the part I think about a lot," said Gene Jackson.
Carrollton Police are asking anyone who has information about Toyal's murder to call their Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 770-838-STOP (7867)
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