Candlelight Vigil

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Candlelight Vigil in Leavenworth, KS

In Love and Remembrance of Logan and Austin Jackson

“What’s important is friendship and family and love and faith” – Pastor Cape Rust

by Peggy Bair

In a show of support for the Tara Jackson family, more than 80 area residents, friends and family gathered for a candlelight vigil Monday night, November 2, 2020 on the grounds of the former Leavenworth Mall at 3400 S. Fourth Street, in Leavenworth, KS.

Tara’s sons, brothers Logan Jackson, 14, and Austin Jackson, 12, were found deceased October 24, 2020 at their home in Leavenworth. In a story that ignited the Leavenworth community, an Amber alert was issued for the boys’ two sisters, Nora, 7 and Aven, 3, who went missing the same day the boys were found deceased.

Members of the community said they scoured the town for the Amber alert vehicle in question. But it was soon learned that the car they were searching for was well out of town near the Oklahoma border before the Amber alert reached most people.

Fortunately, a sharp-eyed truck driver in Oklahoma spotted the vehicle in question and the sisters were recovered safely within hours of being reported missing. The girls had been transported to Oklahoma by their father, Donny Jackson. Jackson is wanted for questioning in Leavenworth, KS in connection with the deaths of the two brothers. He has agreed to extradition from Oklahoma back to Kansas. The sisters have been returned to their home with their mother in Lansing, KS.

A private family funeral Mass for Logan and Austin Jackson was held earlier in the day at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Lansing, which live-streamed the service.

The candlelight vigil was held at 7 p.m. November 2 to allow a format for the community at large to process their grief and express support for the Jackson family. The event was organized by and hosted by Jeff Schroeder, a friend of the Jackson family, whose Facebook invitation to the vigil was as follows:

In light of the tragic event that unfolded October 24 2020 to 2 sweet loving brothers, best friends, 2 young men that were taken from a loving family left our home town shocked and devastated to support the jackson family we as a community it’s time to come together as a community and show this family support. The Jackson family requests we come together as a community the candlelight vigil be held the evening that these little guys get laid to rest so anyone that wants to pay your respect to this family bring a candle and lets show the Jacksons we are all thinking of them let’s keep it civil this is about Logan and Austin!!! Rest easy boys!!! You will be missed dearly!! 

Jeff Schroeder spoke with attendees at the Candlelight Vigil for Logan and Austin Jackson held Monday night in Leavenworth, KS.
Photo by Peggy Bair/HeartKC

Pastor Cape Rust, with Community Pilgrim Church in Leavenworth, presided for the group attending the vigil. Unity leader Jermaine Wilson offered words of encouragement to those gathered. Several songs were played as the group also prayed together. The community members were visibly somber and shaken by the events that had taken place. Children looked to each other and their parents for comfort.


After the vigil, Pastor Cape Rust spoke with HeartKC about why it was important to give people a chance to express their grief together through the candlelight vigil.

He said that people carry their troubles as if these troubles are rocks in a rucksack on their backs. At first they might not notice the weight but as they continue filling it with stones, the pack becomes heavier and heavier until they can’t carry it alone anymore. “The more grief, the more anger – all those things that we store. If you imagine yourself on a path, the heavier the rucksack is, the harder it is to walk,” Rust said. “You can’t reach in the rucksack and get something out, but the person next to you can.”

“Sometimes you can’t even carry that rucksack but the person next to you – or two people, three people, or five people – can all pick it up,” he said. “And if they have to pick you up and carry you, they can.”

“That’s what this [vigil] was.”


Jeff Pittman holds a candle with other community members who attended the Candlelight Vigil Monday night for Logan and Austin Jackson at the former Leavenworth Mall. ©2020 Peggy Bair/HeartKC

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Tara Jackson and her daughters for those who would like to donate to help the family with expenses. Please click on the hyperlink to be directed to the donation page.

Peggy Bair

Peggy Bair is a Midwest journalist and photographer covering human interest stories throughout Middle America.

I am an alum of the University of Missouri – Kansas City English Department. I am a member of the American Society of Media Photographers, the National Press Photographers Association and Professional Photographers of America. I have worked on the staff of six different newspapers throughout my career. My speciality is people stories. Your support of local journalism in the face of newspaper downsizing is deeply appreciated. You deserve to have your stories told truthfully and responsibly.