During the early morning hours of June 26, 1983, a father’s worst nightmare came true. The father of 16-year-old Erik Stirling Cross walked outside of his Vicksburg, Michigan, home to grab the morning newspaper and discovered his son dead on the side of the road.
It’s been 30 years since that dreadful morning, and the murder of the 16-year-old Vicksburg High School student remains unsolved.
The blue-eyed, red-headed teenage boy attended a party the night before less than a mile from his home. He left the party around 1:00 a.m., according to police.
His father told investigators that just before 6:00 a.m. he was awakened by the sound of a car with a loud muffler. According to Erik’s father, the car pulled into his driveway, left, and returned a second time before speeding off into the distance.
Police say little is known about Erik’s whereabouts between the time he left the party and when his body was discovered. What authorities do know is that evidence at the scene indicated he was dragged by a vehicle and deliberately struck.
An autopsy report states Erik suffered “a number of fatal lesions” that contributed to his death, including numerous fractures, lacerations and abrasions that left his body mangled.
The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office says Erik may have been involved in an altercation with a group of core individuals before leaving the party. However, the medical examiner stated in his report that Erik’s body was so badly injured that they were unable to determine if any of his injuries were sustained before he was fatally struck.
No arrests have been made in the case, but authorities say they have identified a group of four to five people who are considered “persons of interest” in Erik’s homicide. A neighbor working in his yard at the time of the murder told police he saw a vehicle occupied by two white males and a white female near Erik’s home.
In 2012, Erik’s sister, Jackie Mitchell, created a Facebook page in memory of her slain brother, and police hope that page might spark people’s memories and help catch his killer.
“My goal with the Facebook page was originally just to keep Erik's memory alive,” Erik’s sister told HLN. “It only evolved into being a tool to bring justice after so many other people became interested in his case, and so many people from Vicksburg contacted me expressing shock that no one had ever been arrested.”
“We maintain Faith in God and know that our peace does not depend on what does or does not happen to Erik's killers,” she added. “It won't help us much at this point to see the killers and their accomplices in jail. It won't change what they did to us or how our family…It may prevent future crime by those obviously unstable and dangerous individuals who killed Erik and who treat human life like garbage.”
We need your help: 30 years later, justice for Erik Stirling Cross is long overdue.
Anyone with information regarding the murder of Erik Cross is urged to contact the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office at 269-383-8723 or the Silent Observer. There is a $1,765 reward.