Almost 2 years after deadly interstate shooting in Boone Co., police, victim’s family issue another plea for help

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WHITESTOWN, Ind. — Nearly two years after a woman was found shot to death inside an SUV in Boone County, her family and police are issuing another push for any information that may lead to identifying her killer.

“The call originally came out as a disabled vehicle, so in our initial response, we didn’t really know what to expect. We get those calls all the time,” said John Jurkash, administrative captain for the Whitestown Metropolitan Police Department.”

On the morning of Nov. 3, 2019, police were dispatched to the interstate, where they found a white Mercedes Benz SUV near the guardrail on I-65 northbound in the area of mile marker 131.

It wasn’t long before police realized this was much more serious than just a call for a disabled vehicle.

“Once our investigators came out, it was very clear from everything they determined that this was a homicide that was committed on the side of the interstate,” said Jurkash. “That added a whole complexity to the situation because we have thousands of people traveling the interstate at any given time from all different states, all different cities.”

The victim was identified as 29-year-old Ceaira M. Reed, a mother of three from the south suburbs of Chicago. She was found inside her SUV, where police said she was the sole occupant. She was pronounced dead at the scene from apparent gunshot wounds.

Photo of the scene on Nov. 3, 2019 (Whitestown Police Dept.)

The vehicle had multiple bullet holes according to police, who said the investigation leads them to believe this was a targeted shooting.

Jurkash said investigators have worked nonstop on this case for almost two years now, and despite many leads, they’re still working to obtain information that leads to finding Ceaira’s killer.

“Our detectives have worked tirelessly, crossing state lines, interacting with federal agencies, local agencies, city agencies, and just, not only liaising with them but gathering intel, finding information out on possible suspects, trying to get interviews conducted,” said Jurkash.

“There’s been a lot of time traveling, from phone calls to emails. I know our guys even went to the extent to go to memorial services and funeral services to show that family we’re not gonna stop until we’re able to close this case out,” he continued.

Although investigators have not released specifics, they said they have worked to determine what may have brought Ceaira to central Indiana as part of their investigation.

Police said this case has been challenging for several reasons, including that the victim is from out of state and that the crime scene was located on the heavily traveled interstate.

“When you’re going over state lines and have a victim who’s from 150 plus miles away, it makes that investigation that much more difficult,” said Jurkash. “It makes it harder to get that word out.”

“We have had several leads that have come from locally, have come across state lines, from different cities, from different agencies, and we’ve followed those leads to the extent that we can but we’re missing that one piece of the puzzle that can bring this thing home and solve it and get justice for the victim’s family.”

Ceaira’s family said they want people who never had the chance to meet her to know what they loved and miss most about her. She left behind three boys that her family said miss their mom so much.

“She was very outgoing, she was hardworking, very active,” said her older sister, Teaira Reed. “She was in school; she didn’t get to go to her graduation because of this tragic incident.”

“One thing about her was she never gave up,” said Teaira.

Family said Ceaira was excited to graduate and was just weeks away from closing on a home when she was killed.

“She was doing a lot of stuff to better her life for her and her kids,” added Betty Reed, Ceaira’s mother.

“She was just so bright, she was like the star of our family,” Betty added. “She was so funny, she was just the life of the party.”

Ceaira’s family said the last two years have been excruciating as they push for answers in her death.

“Our family really misses Ceaira. It’s been two of the longest years of my life and two of the longest years of her kids’ life. She always had been a good mother to her kids. She provided them with everything they needed,” said Betty.

“We’re still hurting, you know. It’s not easy at all,” said Teaira. “We know somebody knows what happened to her, you know, and just think if it was your family, you’d want justice. You’d want peace.”

Teaira still recalls the moments from that morning when she found out her younger sister became a victim of a shooting more than 150 miles from the suburb she was from.

“I never would have thought that I would get this phone call at five something in the morning you know, about her,” said Teaira.

Ceaira’s family hopes anyone with information that helps lead police to identifying who took her life or anyone involved, will find it in their heart to come forward and get justice for not only her but for her family who misses her, particularly her three boys.

“We can’t heal overnight so just to know that the person or people that are responsible is locked up is what we need,” said Betty.

“We just ask that if somebody knows anything, even if they think it may not be helpful, it will be. That could be the missing piece that we’re looking for,” said Jurkash.

This is one of the more difficult cases that the Whitestown Metropolitan Police Department has worked in recent times, said Jurkash.

“With us being a little bit smaller of a town agency, we take a lot of pride in solving all of the cases that come across our desks and this is one that’s kind of been a thorn in our side that we don’t have that last piece of information that we need and we’re not leaving any stone unturned,” said Jurkash.

“It’s something that we take very personally and we’re not stopping until we get everything that we can.”

No piece of information is too small, police said.

“We just ask that if somebody knows anything, even if they think it may not be helpful, it will be. That could be the missing piece that we’re looking for,” said Jurkash.

Whitestown police said Ceaira was involved in a drug investigation out of Lake County in 2018 that may have ties or potential leads to this investigation. They encourage anyone who knows something, in either case, to reach out to authorities.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Whitestown police at 765-482-1412.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can also contact Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana with any information by calling 317-262-TIPS (8477) or 800-222-TIPS (TIPS). Tips can also be submitted through the P3 Tips Mobile App.

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