Vigil held for teen killed 32 years ago; cold case nears its end

Posted at 12:26 AM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 00:26:15-05

VICKSBURG, Mich. – Thirty-two years after Erik Cross was found dead in the road near his home in Vicksburg, detectives believe they are close to finding who is responsible for his murder. A large crowd of people gathered Monday night for a special candle light vigil, and his family said they hope the vigil will shine light on his death.

Jackie Mitchell, Cross’ sister, said the family hasn’t found closure since her brother’s death in 1983.

“We’ve gone through those stages of grief, but it’s almost like we can’t go through all of them until the case is closed,” said Mitchell. "We have to do that to put this behind us."

It’s been a three-decade wait for justice. Erik Cross, who was 16 at the time, was found dead outside his parent’s home on Y Avenue in Kalamazoo County on June 26, 1983. Marylou Cross, Erik’s mother, said her husband was the one who found him.

“He went out to get the paper and found Erik on the cement right out front of our house," she said, "That’s the roughest, most difficult time for any parents, to find their child dead.”

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas has been following the case from the beginning. He said Cross was at a party the night of his death, possibly pulled into a fight over a girl.

Matyas said new information has led to a potential suspect.

The suspect "should be worried," said Matyas. "All of them involved should be extremely worried. I can say the time is running short.”

Mitchell identified Brent Spaulding as a person of interest and said everyone in Vicksburg knows it. However, no charges have been filed in connection to Cross’ death.

“Everyone knows exactly who the killers were,” said Mitchell. “When I went to high school, it was told to me many times, the names of who they were. So that is why I didn’t understand how everyone could know and still know who the person was. The main person, the person who killed him, has gone around and told several people how, why, and when he killed Erik. And he still has not been arrested on this case yet.”

A candle light vigil was held in Vicksburg’s historical district, remembering Cross with song and prayer. His family hopes that keeping his memory alive will bring someone forward with information about Cross' death.

Matyas said he has received more information in the case in the last couple of months than he has in 15 years and said investigators are waiting for the right time to make any arrests.