While March 26 came and went as any other day for most Loudouners, for those who knew 44-year-old Jammie Lane it was a day to remember the man they loved, and the impact he made while he was here.
Wednesday marked the fifth anniversary of the day when Lane was found stabbed to death in his Leesburg home—a case that remains unsolved. Jammie Lane’s family and friends are hoping the anniversary will serve as a time for the community to remember him, and perhaps light a spark that will bring closure to a case that has never left the minds of those closest to it.
“I want him remembered, and not forgotten,” his widow Youdella Lane said last week. “He was well known around town. He was big-hearted. He would help anyone. He was a family person. He was a friend to everyone who met him. He just didn’t deserve for his life to be taken the way it was.”
Lane was found stabbed to death in his Adams Drive townhouse around 3 p.m. March 26, 2009. To date, no one has been arrested for the crime.
“We were using all kinds of resources we have in the course of the investigation, and still continue to do that today, but rarely does a case like this occur, especially in the middle of the afternoon, where we don’t have chatter,” Leesburg Police Capt. Clagett Moxley said of the investigation.
That is not to say that the investigation is stagnant.
In 2010, a man—later identified as Elias Abuelazam—stabbed three people in Leesburg over the course of three days. After the Leesburg stabbings were connected to a series of stabbings and homicides in Michigan and Ohio, Abuelazam, a former Leesburg resident, was arrested in the Atlanta airport as he was preparing to board a flight to Israel. He has since been found guilty of murder in Michigan and sentenced to life in prison.
“After we started working backwards in the [serial stabbing] case, we do know that during the timeframe of Mr. Lane’s death that [Abuelazam] was in the immediate area,” Moxley said.
Calling Abuelazam only a “person of interest” in the Lane case, Moxley said Leesburg detectives have traveled to Flint, MI, and other parts of Michigan in their investigation into Lane’s death. Moxley said he could not comment whether detectives had actually interviewed Abuelazam about the Lane case, but did say detectives are working with federal agencies in Michigan and Washington, DC, on the investigation.
“We do know he had previous association with Mr. Lane. They used to live in the same area on Adams Drive,” Moxley said.
Even without an arrest—or even an official suspect—Leesburg police detectives have never considered the investigation a “cold case.”
“We still have two of the same detectives that are pouring over the information. And we had some of the federal partners come in and look at it, for fresh eyes,” Moxley said. “We just still need that final piece.”
And that’s what Lane’s family and friends are hoping for as well.
“My hope is that someone will come forward eventually,” Youdella Lane said. “Sometimes even the smallest thing could be something.”
“The one thing I would say to the person who did this is, you took a good person from the community, his family and his friends, now be man enough to own up to what you did,” Lane’s employer and friend Leonard McDonald said. “To those that Jammie meant something to, if you know anything it is not being a rat or a snitch, it is doing your responsibility of a human to another human.”
As they wait for answers, those who loved Lane are remembering him for the larger than life person he was.
Honest. Dependable. Reliable. Caring. Loving. Those are only some of the words people used when asked to describe Jammie Lane.
“His heart was bigger than his personality could ever be. He would take his shirt off his back and give it to you. He was truly a good man,” McDonald said, adding that he did not consider Lane, who worked for him for 10 years, just an employee. “I am a former police officer, and it has a tendency to sour you on people because you only get to see the bad in people. With Jammie I got to see the good…He was like a brother—a member of the family.”
McDonald remembered his friend found joy in everyday life. Owner of a landscaping company, McDonald recalled a winter when there were constant threats of snow—plowing provides off-season income for landscaping companies—and he and Lane would go out and put the plow on the truck, just to have the snow not fall.
“So the next time they called for snow, I told him, ‘Come on, Jammie, we have to put the plow on.’ And he said, ‘Don’t put it on, it will be bound to snow.’ And he was right,” McDonald said with a laugh. “And then we were out there in the snow trying to get the plow on.”
Youdella Lane and her daughter Katherine Thompson say there is a hole in their family since Lane’s death.
“He was just the go-to person. My friends, everyone who knew him. If they came across him, they loved him,” Thompson said. “He helped the kids in the neighborhood fix their bikes…and he would talk to the kids, tell them, you need to stay on the right path, and not do wrong.”
Youdella Lane said her husband’s death “totally changed my life.” The couple had been married more than 18 years when Lane was killed. “Now everything is different. You’re kind of out there on your own.”
Lane’s absence is felt strongly with his grandchildren, including a 1-year-old who will never know his grandfather.
“But the two oldest boys, one is 15 and one is 12 now, their grandfather was like their hero. They really looked up to him. The girls were younger, they’re 7 and 8 now, and they still remember him,” Lane said. She encourages people who knew Lane to share their stories of him, to help keep his memory alive for the youngest members of his family.
Thompson, too, feels his absence every day. “I can’t go to my dad and talk to him. My kids can’t go to their grandfather and talk to him…It has changed our lives forever, of course. He can’t be there for awards, graduations, their big events.”
For the first few years after his death, Lane’s family and friends held a memorial event for him, and to ask for people to call the police with what they knew. This year the family marked the anniversary of his death in a much more private way. But the plea for tips is the same.
“We’re still asking for the community, if there is anyone out there who knows something or has heard something, we want them to come forward,” Thompson said.
Anyone with information about Lane’s death is asked to call the Leesburg Police Department at 703-771-4500. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the Leesburg Crimeline at 703-443-TIPS. Information can also be sent using TIPSUBMIT via text. Text 274637 (CRIMES) and begin the message with LPDTIP.
The Leesburg Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations have put together a $25,000 reward for anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Lane’s death.