Candlelight vigil planned for Rayna Rison

2013-10-14T16:59:00Z 2013-10-14T18:50:43Z Candlelight vigil planned for Rayna RisonStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
October 14, 2013 4:59 pm  • 

LAPORTE | A prayer vigil is planned Wednesday to raise money for scholarships in memory of Rayna Rison, the 16-year-old LaPorte girl killed in 1993.

Her father, Ben Rison, said one $200 scholarship has been awarded each year since her death to a member of the high school band to keep her memory alive.

Rayna was a member of the band prior to her strangulation death more than 20 years ago.

Rison said the prayer vigil will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Rolling Prairie United Methodist Church at U.S. 20 and 350 East.

He said t-shirts, lighted balloons and key chains will be among the items available for sale to replenish the scholarship account.

"It's getting low and we want to build it back up again," said Rison.

Rison said the scholarship fund was started with the reward money the family offered for his daughter's safe return.

She was last seen at her job at the Pine Lake Animal Clinic in March of 2003 and a month later her body was discovered in a pond along Range Road north of LaPorte.

The murder case once featured on the popular TV show "America's Most Wanted" has remained unsolved, but in August a former boyfriend, Jason Tibbs, 38, was charged with her murder.

A major break came in 2008 when Rickey Hammons, an inmate at a prison in Wabash revealed that he was 14 and hiding in a barn when Tibbs and Eric Freeman drove into the building, according to police.

The trunk lid on the car was opened and he saw what appeared to be a body he later discovered was Rison's after reading newspaper accounts of her disappearance and death.

According to police, Freeman in June told investigators he was with Tibbs when he approached Rison after she left her job at the Pine Lake Animal Hospital about getting back together.

They argued because she didn't want to resume their relationship and all three of them drove to Fail Road north of LaPorte where Tibbs and Rison began striking each other.

Freeman told police he saw Tibbs strangle her, police said.

Tibbs has hired Scott Pejic of Michigan City and John Tompkins of Indianapolis to defend him against the charges.

An omnibus hearing in the LaPorte Circuit Court case is set for Ocotber 18.

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