|Fifth annual Jason Vesper Memorial Classic set for Aug. 4|
|July 03, 2012 Terry Gaston|
Courtesy photo Jason Vesper enjoys time with his children, Joshua (now 21 years old) and Danielle Vesper (now 18 years old). Vesper’s 2008 murder is still unsolved but new information looks hopeful.
On Aug. 4, the triumphant benefit golf tournament born out of a tragic, still unsolved murder case will mark its fifth conduction and observance.
And whether it comes as coincidence or just timely interest, leads in resolving the January 2008 murder case of Jason Vesper have rekindled the interest of law enforcement.
“The fifth annual Jason Vesper Memorial Golf Classic is on pace to raise more funds for its benefitting charity, CAPStone Child Advocacy Services in Gering,” said Vesper’s sister and Gering resident Kim Ott, a records technician for the Scottsbluff Police Department.
Ott said the first four golf classics have raised $20,000 for CAPStone, with a goal of $25,000, and she added that “it looks like we’re there” with monies compiled this year.
“I think people in the community have really given us a lot of support this year,” said Ott, the only one of Vesper’s four siblings still in the area.
However, the wide-spread family members have also drawn support for the case and golf tournament in their respective communities. The classic’s website, jasonvespermemorial.com, lists 87 family and corporate sponsors.
In addition, Ott said, “Great people and businesses such as the Citizen have helped us through all this.”
Jon Vesper is the director of golf at Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif., making his experience a natural in the initial founding and interest in the forming of the Jason Vesper Golf Classic.
“Jon brings in a lot of prizes from his community because of their interest in Jason’s case, and he is able to really set up the tournament easily with his background and experience,” Ott said.
Ronda Argueta is in real estate in Tucson, Ariz., and Ott said her sister’s contacts there have also generated awareness and contributions from associations for family expenses.
Holly Kopeikin is key accounts executive for the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune and has received support for advertising and promotions donated by her newspaper.
“We’ve had a great team, made a lot of friends, and we are just getting an outstanding amount of support because we have had such an outpouring from all our communities,” Ott said.
Vesper’s body was found with multiple stab wounds in the early hours of Jan. 2, 2008, in his pickup at the corner of Avenue H and West Overland in Scottsbluff.
“Jason was so involved with his children,” Ott said of son Joshua, now 21, and Danielle, now 18. “There was never a question of who we should go with (in supporting CAPStone). Jason always wanted to help those kids.”
Ott also said that support, not just professionally but also personally, is provided to her by the SPD — where Ott had been working for six months when her brother, then 40, was killed.
“I was told when I was hired that the police department is a family and that I was now part of it,” Ott said. “Every year they have asked how they can help us so we don’t have to deal with expenses.”
Capt. Kevin Spencer, who is overseeing the Vesper case, said SPD has received some leads in the past three months as well as some additional key information at the end of 2011. He added that even a mundane tip, in the eyes of the discloser, may prove significant in progressing the investigation.
“We encourage anyone with information to call us, no matter how small they think it might be,” Spencer said. “We are still investigating and we ask and are asked about it all the time. It’s a solvable case, so we want to get the reward fund built up.”
The Vesper family has built a reward for informants who could provide key elements that would bring forth a conviction of Jason’s assailant.
“We really need to focus on getting that reward fund up to at least $20,000 and maybe $25,000,” said Ott, whose family has the reward built to $10,000.
Spencer said citizens with information may contact him at the Scottsbluff Police Department, 630-6261, or by calling Crime Stoppers at 632-STOP (7866).
“We always have hope,” he said. “We’re optimistic that somebody has a key piece of information and we are encouraging them to come forward with it.”
Tournament details, including entry information and event/family history, may be found on the Web site www.jasonvespermemorial.com, and registrations may be made by calling Kim Ott at (308) 630-6261 during weekday business hours.
“We have about 50 signed up now,” Ott said Friday. The tournament has a four-man scramble format.
Ott said “We won’t stop until we get it resolved,” said Ott, adding the family has contacted national TV investigative programs to request assistance in solving the case.
“It’s starting to look more hopeful as far as what the police department continues to receive. We also have many active members of the community who are really bringing the case to more attention.”
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