NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - More than a year ago, two New Orleans families received devastating news, and to this day they still don’t know who is responsible for taking the lives of the two people they say brought them so much joy.
The families of 33-year-year old Jefferson Parish pre-school teacher Jacqueliyn Williams and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Thaddeus Jackson, learned the couple had been murdered inside their New Orleans apartment in January of 2018.
“It’s a pain that is so indescribable,” said Joycelyn Jones, Jacqueliyn’s sister.
Nicole Jackson lost her son, Thaddeus, a young man she described as kind, generous and a loving father of three children. Thaddeus and Jackie didn’t have children together, but they were in a relationship and lived together in an apartment at 8200 Palmetto Street, where they were killed. More than a year later, the emotions of their loved ones remain raw.
“I never thought that I would wake up and find out that my son is gone and he won’t come back. He’s not never coming back and this is something that I have to live with for the rest of my life," said an emotional Nicole.
“They took a friend, they took a cousin, a teacher, they took a daughter, they took my sister," said Joycelyn.
To this day, they vividly recall their final interactions with them on that last weekend in January of 2018. Jackson said she didn’t see her son that weekend, but they spoke by phone and joked around as she said they usually did in their conversations.
Joycelyn was at Jackie’s apartment for their annual pre-Valentine’s Day party.
“We really had a fun night," she said. "You would never think this would have been the last time.”
Sadly, it was the last time she saw her sister alive. Forty-eight hours later on Monday morning, Jan. 28 , 2018, Jones rushed to her sister’s apartment and found a heartbreaking scene. Her sister hadn’t showed up for work and neither she nor her boyfriend could be reached by phone.
Inside the apartment she found the bodies of the murdered couple after she forced open the door. She then called police.
“My friend, my sister, the mayor to my city was gone,” said Jones with tears flowing down her face.
It’s a heartache that Jackson’s mother says she faces daily.
“Every day that I wake up from January 29th to now, I think about Thaddeus. It’s just like a hole in my heart. It just hurts,” said the grieving mother.
On the day of their murders, many grieving relatives and friends gathered in disbelief at the apartment complex.
“They were both shot multiple times,” said NOPD Cold Case Detective Ryan Aucoin.
Aucoin says they can’t determine the exact time of death, but the official time listed was between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m when their bodies were found. However Jackie’s body did reveal a clue to investigators.
“I think that the homicide took place sometime close to the time she was getting ready for work, “ Aucoin said.
He says that would have been early that morning because Jackie had to drive to her teaching job at Spring Ridge Academy School in Kenner to be there by 6:30 a.m.
Here’s what else they know: The weapon was most likely a handgun, and the motive remains unclear. As for suspects, they say CrimeStoppers tips suggest anywhere from one to three people were involved. However, there are no known witnesses and there was no sign of forced entry at the apartment.
Investigators are also working on the theory that Jackie may have made it down to her car in the parking lot to head to work and someone forced her back upstairs. That would explain why there was no sign of forced entry at the apartment and why she was dressed for her job.
The NOPD is now hoping that someone in the large complex or someone who was in the area at the time saw something that can help police.
“That’s my hope," said Detective Aucoin. "That somebody was coming home or from work or on their way to work, and they saw an individual or individuals running from the apartment complex or the apartment, or getting into a car or fleeing on foot.”
The families of the victims also hope someone responds to their plea for help.
“Justice for Jackie and Thaddeus - two people that didn’t deserve to die,“ said Nicole Jackson.
More than a year later, she and Jones and other family members struggle to deal with their loss, while praying for the capture of whomever murdered their loved ones.
If you have any information, contact the NOPD at 504-658-5300 or 504-658-5315.