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Erik Cross murder case now in the hands of prosecutor after 32 years

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In September, Newschannel 3 was the first to report that a conspiracy to cover up the 1983 murder of Erik Cross was crumbling.

Now, the case is in the hands of a prosecutor for the first time in 32 years.

Developments this week mark a major step forward in the case.

The Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department turned the case over to the prosecutor's office on Wednesday, and gave us some new insight into this decades-old murder.

The family of Erik Cross--who was left for dead outside his parent's home at the age of 16--has prayed for justice for 32 years. That prayer is now one step closer to being answered.

"The case has never been formally presented to the prosecutor with the intent of getting warrants and prosecuting someone and we reach that stage right now," said Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas.

Matyas tells Newschannel 3 that Erik suffered blunt force trauma, and that a vehicle was involved in his killing, although they're not specifying whether his body was dragged or run over.

In crime scene photos obtained by Newschannel 3, you can see his shoes and watch scattered along the roadway.

"Right now we have five persons who are believed to be involved in some way, either through coverup, direct involvement or aiding and abetting in the case," Matyas said.

We named Brent Spaulding--a former classmate of Erik's--as a person of interest when we broke developments in the case back in September. And we can now name the other four.

Sources confirm they are Brian Spaulding Sr.--Brent's father; Amber Thomas, his girlfriend at the time; and former friends Bill Cook and Tim Martin.

The undersheriff believes they have a strong case, although there is no timeline for further action or arrests.

"This case is going to be closed one way or another and we do not want to close it by saying they got away with murder," Matyas said.

In this cold case, there have been some questions over the statute of limitations, and if it's passed for those who may have been indirectly involved.

"That's part of the coverup that occurred, let's just cover this thing up, let the statute of limitations run and then we all get off scot-free. But there is no statute of limitations on murder, so any charge you see will have murder as a central point," Matyas said. "Conspiracy to commit murder is every bit as guilty as committing it yourself."

The Sheriff's Department says the bulk of the case has been turned over to the prosecutor's office.

But they say they are working together, as they continue to receive new information.

Newschannel 3 will continue to stay on top of the case, and let you know when new charges are filed.

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