Haider’s mother still waiting for answers about son’s death

The mother of a man whose body was found in a Dickinson construction site three years after he disappeared from there says she has received little information about the investigation into his death just days before a memorial service will be held for him.

Nearly three months have passed since the body of Eric Haider was found at a worksite off 40th Street West in north Dickinson by private investigators who had been hired by Mary Ellen Suchan, Haider’s mother.

Haider’s remains were exhumed May 22 “relatively intact,” according to a Dickinson Police Department report and a positive identification was made a week later. He had disappeared from the job site where he was working for Cofell’s Plumbing and Heating on May 24, 2012. Police investigators and private citizens spent months looking for Haider, who was 30 years old and living in the Bismarck area at the time of his death, near the site following his disappearance, but turned up no results.

In a letter sent Wednesday to The Press by Discovery Investigations, of Rapid City, S.D., Suchan states that she and her family have received limited answers about her son’s death, and have received no access to a forensics report or pictures of Haider’s body.

“We have waited a long three years for answers to our sons where about (sic),” Suchan wrote. “And now with limited answers again to our questions and no access to the forensics or pictures of my son’s body, we have once again by default entrusted that the case will be solved by law enforcement. The previous game plan used by the Dickinson police department (sic) was procedurally inadequate. It’s not that the investigation didn’t go far enough, no, it’s that fundamentally from day one, the lack of strategy and complete void of a basic blueprint lead (sic) to a series of errors and omissions.”

In the letter, Discovery Investigations credits the Dickinson Police Department and Detective Sgt. Kylan Klauzer for entrusting them with the private investigation that led them to finding Haider’s remains.

However, the fi rm added that it believes Haider’s family “deserves to know who or what is responsible for what happened to Eric. They’ve waited long enough.”

Klauzer said in a phone interview Wednesday that he has been in frequent contact with Haider’s family. He said the contact has slowly become less frequent in the time between Haider’s disappearance in May 2012 and the discovery of his remains earlier this year. Since then, he said he has remained in contact with Suchan, though he said has not shared every detail about the case with her.

“We were always trying to keep her in the loop,” he said. “We didn’t forget about her.”

Klauzer and Dickinson Police Chief Dustin Dassinger each said Wednesday that the autopsy report on Haider is complete and the case has been sent to the Stark County state’s attorney offi ce for determination of criminal charges. However, Dassinger said the case remains an open investigation and forwarded questions about Haider’s autopsy report to the state’s attorney’s office.

Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning said Wednesday, to his knowledge, his offi ce has yet to review the case. He said it would not be uncommon for a review of the case to take up to a month because of the office’s caseload.

In its letter, Discovery Investigations also took issue with search procedures employed by Dickinson police detectives in 2012, which it said included a physical search, combing the area with scent dogs and fl ying a heat sensor aircraft over parts of the area.

“The current system employed by the government to solve cases needs to be revisited and amended,” the fi rm wrote. “It’s not that the system is archaic, it’s more that it lacks a consistent synergy.”

Klauzer said the city spent thousands of dollars in the three years between Haider’s disappearance and the discovery of his remains in trying to locate him, and that a great investment of not only money but police and city offi cial time was put into the case. A memorial service for Haider will be held at 10 a.m. CDT Saturday under the Memorial Bridge near the Lewis & Clark Riverboat.

A visitation is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. Friday with a rosary and vigil service at 7 p.m. at DaWise-Perry Funeral Services in Mandan.

“We believe that the truth still matters,” Suchan wrote at the end of her letter. “We will continue to offer our prayers for final closure in this case so that Eric can truly rest in peace.”

Author: Dustin Monke

Former newspaper editor. Now I market the best baked goods and donuts in America. But every once in a while, I write a cool story too.

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