Community Calls For Changes Following Jogger’s Stabbing Death
COLUMBUS - Nearly a week after a woman was stabbed to death, while jogging in a park near her home, family and community members are calling for change.
It's been an emotional journey for those who knew Jane Juergens. She was mother of two, who was said to have just started her own business and on her way up. She was also a woman, whose life was cut short by a teenager with a known history of violence.
A Friday night vigil at the park where she was killed, led by prayer, “this is for the community and also with the family that we stand.” A strong message to a community that has struggled so much over the past week.
Fifty-five year old Jane Juergens was stabbed to death, as she was jogging on the main trail of Ridgewood Park near her home.
On Friday, people who live nearby came together. People who realize they, too, could have been on that same trail at that same moment.
“It's shocking it could happen here,” said 14-year-old Wyndra Bair. She said she went to school with the accused killer, and is a neighbor to Juergens.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to her family. I'm so so sorry that this happened. It's heartbreaking,” said Bair.
But, this vigil was more than just bringing people together and remembering the life of a loved one, it was about calling for change.
“We just feel it's important to honor her memory to do this,” said Barbara Johnson, a close friend of Juergens.
Johnson said a petition has just been started to rename the park, plant a tree and put up a bench, with a plaque, in her honor.
Johnson’s message, “spread Jane's love, her empowerment to people and to take back your park and not to worry. We want safety and fun for their park"
Juergens' son also told the crowd he was grateful so many showed so much support.
There is also support building to change state laws, by giving local communities the ability to regulate group homes, such as the one the teen was living in.
So far, the cities of Westerville and Gahanna are said to be supporting the idea.