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Retired undersheriff says AG, investigators ‘haven’t given up’ on Erik Cross cold case

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 18:57:01-05

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday that no warrants will be issued in the Erik Cross cold case.

The 16-year-old was found dead in the street near his home in Vicksburg in June 1983. Since then, his case has gone cold.

Retired Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas worked on the case for decades. He was at that meeting along with the Cross family and he said they were livid.

“They said ‘everyone’s getting older, witnesses are starting to die off. It is a cold case. What have you got to lose,’” Matyas said about the family’s response. “And the attorney general is saying ‘well you only get one shot and we want to make it good.’”

Matyas said the attorney general worked hard on the case over the last few years. She poured a lot of resources into it. However she had a few concerns, he said.

“The attorney general’s office was concerned that the defense would file several motions that they may not be able to positively overcome,” said Matyas during an interview with FOX 17 Friday morning. “With that, they said ‘we’re not going issue warrants at this time.’ They haven’t given up. They’re just not going to issue warrants at this time.”

Matyas said one of Nessel’s concerns was when a suspect declined immunity and no prosecution in exchange for that person’s alleged eye-witness account of what happened on that day 36 years ago.

Matyas was shocked, he said.

“The reason you don’t toss these back on the table is simply because someone else may pick that gold nugget up and run with it,” said Matyas who worked on the case for decades. “So trading your freedom for what? Who knows. That was a huge mistake and everyone’s just floored.”

Matyas said the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office is committed to the case. Investigators are currently assigned to it. Sheriff Richard Fuller is committed to “sticking with it and proceeding with it,” he said.

Nessel gave them specific direction on how to move the case forward, he said.

“It's not over. This case is not dead,” Matyas said. “It’s too bad somebody, after today, goes back to being a prime suspect in this matter. We’re going to see how it shakes out.”