Break in 32-year-old cold case in Kalamazoo County

Posted at 8:50 PM, Sep 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 08:25:56-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- More than three decades after the body of Erik Cross, 16, was found lying on Y Avenue near his home in Vicksburg, police say new evidence is moving the investigation forward.

New information recently revealed has led to a person of interest who is currently in the Kalamazoo County Jail on unrelated charges, according to Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas.

Cross was found dead the morning of June 26, 1983. Investigators say he had attended a party the night before. According to his sister, Jackie Mitchell, Cross may have been pulled into a fight over a girl during the event, leading to his death.

Several people were involved in Cross's death, said Matyas. The case is being investigated as a homicide.

As time has passed, said Matyas, circumstances and loyalties have changed, and people are coming clean about what he calls a "very systematic and organized cover-up."

"This conspiracy is falling apart as we speak," Matyas told FOX 17 News. "The brick wall that was built over the years with a lot of effort is crumbling."

"This was not going to go away until it was resolved," he added "And it's been 32 years. And we didn't care if it was going to be another 32 years. We're going to stick with this case."

Although police have not released a name, Cross's sister Jackie Mitchell has identified the person of interest as Brent Spaulding. She said she's heard his name for many years in connection to the crime.

Investigators said it would be in the best interest of any remaining witnesses to come forward. Undersheriff Matyas told FOX 17 that several people may be charged in the incident, although the extent of those charges has yet to be determined by the prosecutor.