Eric Haider was born prematurely. small and weak with the murmur of the heart He wasn’t expected to survive, but he did.
As a child, Eric, who was deaf on one ear, learned how to sign and underwent years of physical therapy for the complications he endured as a preemie, but the little baby eventually became a 6-foot-tall man. Strong, which, according to his mother, used to give his shirt to strangers who needed it for job interviews.
“That’s what he is,” his mother Mary Ellen Suchan told Dateline. “He may have a medically weak heart. but he has a heart of gold and He cares deeply about others.”
Eric has a passion for helping others. But his heart was still physically weak and he continued to suffer complications for the rest of his life. By the time he was 20, he suffered multiple injuries. But still he survived.
At just 27 years old, a pacemaker was implanted in his chest to help with heart problems. He will live for three more years until his pacemaker dies at 12:19 p.m. on May 24, 2012.
But it wasn’t from his history of heart complications. It’s the Thursday of May before Memorial Day weekend. when he was buried in a ditch six feet below the ground under a pile of dirt at the construction site where he used to work that day
His mother Maryellen told Dateline that since she almost lost Eric as a baby, She was always afraid of losing him.
“To lose Eric like this It was unthinkable,” she said. “He defied many opportunities and lived. His being buried alive and killed is not something we can get through.”
Eric Haider, who lives in Bismarck, North Dakota, was just weeks old to his 31st birthday when that happened. He has just begun working with Cofell Plumbing and Heating, and the company is working on a major off-highway sewer project on Route 22 in Dickinson, North Dakota.
Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching. But six crew members, including Eric, continued to ride from Bismarck to the site in Dickinson.
His mother, Mary Ellen, remembers the last time she saw Eric. She had just dropped him off at the crew pick up point.
“The last thing he said was ‘Give me a kiss and hug’ and say ‘I love you mom, talk to you later’ that was the last time I saw him,” she said.
After a long day of work Eric and crew usually return to Bismarck by 6:30 PM, where his fiance Jody will pick him up.
But on May 24, Eric never returned from the construction site. His fiancé would later tell the police that she tried to call his cell phone. But the phone goes straight to voicemail. which she said is not normal
Dickinson Police were notified and an investigation was conducted. According to police reports at Dateline, response agents contacted Supervisor Jack Bettenhausen, who was at the site that day.
He told police the crew had returned from lunch around 12 p.m., Eric’s fiancee. which usually talks to him during the day Told the police she was on the phone with him at 12:04 p.m. and everything seemed normal.
About 15 minutes later, the crew were unable to locate Eric, according to reports. They called his cell phone. But it goes straight to voicemail.
The foreman told police that Eric was very quiet and did not really interact with the crew. According to reports, he said Eric had asked for a vacation over Memorial Day weekend but was denied, so the foreman told police. that he thought Eric was unhappy with the rejection and might walk away.
So the crew left the scene that day with Eric’s lunchbox, backpack and paycheck. which was distributed to the crew that morning. But there was still no sign of Eric.
Eric’s fiance Jodie later told the police that there was no way Eric would walk out of office, stating that Eric. “I don’t know how to quit” and has a strong work ethic.
Eric was only with the company for a short time. But he’s always looking for ways to make things bigger and better for his family. A father of two, a son and daughter, 30, are studying engineering at college.
But he never had a chance to move forward in his life.
After he was reported missing on May 24, police began interviewing colleagues of Eric. According to what they told police, Eric was last seen in and out of one of the trenches. By working to seal pipes and collect tools.
The rest of the crew began filling the pit. A colleague assigned to fill the landfill made a phone call at 12:14 p.m. that day, when the man said he was in a moving loader. go out It lasted five minutes.
They told the police they didn’t know Eric was gone. until the foreman tried to contact him on his mobile phone around 1:30 p.m.
During a preliminary search for Eric by the police. His phone received local ping orders, leading to an exhaustive ground and air search that lasted weeks.
Maryellen told Dateline that she knew from the start that her son had not left the job site.
“He never left – he was there. buried in that soil,” Maryellen said. “I remember waking up at night for years and wanting to cover him with a blanket. especially in winter I know he’s cold on the ground.”
Five days after Eric’s disappearance The police began digging the construction site on the advice of the crew.
‘We were told and led to believe that part of the ditch had been reclaimed before Eric disappeared,’ Detective Sergeant Kylan Klauzer told NBC affiliate KFYR-TV. that we already have.”
But they are digging in the wrong direction.
On May 21, 2015, three years after Eric disappeared from the construction site. His body was found buried six and a half feet underground. It’s less than 10 feet from where the police first dug, according to a statement from Discovery Investigations, Inc., a private investigative firm hired by the family.
According to the police, private investigator Ron Switzer and his partner It was discovered that further excavations were needed in the area where Eric disappeared to increase the drainage function. So they contacted the K9 funeral caretaker to come to the site. They convinced them to dig where the K9 made an informal indication.
During the excavation, red gloves were found containing human remains. Further excavations revealed the remains of Eric and they called the Dickinson Police Department.
“We had the fortunate chance to try to bring the family closer together,” Ron said in a statement released after the discovery. “They need time to rest. It has been difficult for them for three years.”
Detective Mon. Kylan Klauzer, the lead investigator in the case, wrote in a statement that positive identification was made through medical records. Distinctive tattoos and personal items including his wallet and cell phone. which is found in clothes on the body
According to the story of Gen. Eric Klauzer’s body faces a water pipe. This is the same person Eric’s team was installing at the time of his disappearance. He was in a squatting position and leaned towards the front of his body.
He went on to say that Eric’s body “It is positioned in line with the dirt being pushed into it as it sits near the pipe or as it stands and is forced to fall to the ground.”
Eric’s yellow hard hat was placed under his face. And it seems to come off when dirt hits the body, the report reads.
Eric’s body was moved to the University of North Dakota’s forensic laboratory in Grand Forks for testing. His pacemaker marked the time of death at 12:19 p.m. — just five minutes after his colleagues began filling the trench. The cause of death was decided to be destroyed.
But the discovery of Eric’s body is just the beginning of an investigation that will make his family even more frustrated and desperate for answers.
While Eric’s family believed he was buried alive. and the company concealed his death. His colleagues’ testimony to police said they thought Eric had walked away from the site. Sorry for not taking a vacation and his death It’s just an accident at work.
Jay Cofell, owner of Cofell’s Plumbing and Heating, told the Grand Forks Herald newspaper in 2015 that he was “deeply saddened” to hear that the body was Eric. Cooperate with police investigations. Attempts by Dateline to contact the company for comment on the case were unsuccessful.
It’s been years since Eric’s body was found. The investigation was terminated.
Sergeant Kylan Klauzer told Dateline that the Dickinson Police Department had conducted an exhaustive investigation and presented it to Stark County prosecutor Tom Henning. He declined to file a criminal charge in the case. The decision not to sue does not mean he does not believe a crime has been committed. But the nature of the event makes it difficult to develop a probable cause for the case. because it is not clear who is responsible
With the decision Henning did not file a lawsuit against, Sgt. Klauzer said the Dickinson Police Department decided to close the case. He added that anyone who might have information that could reopen Eric’s case could call the police department.
Eric’s death and the circumstances surrounding him make it difficult for his family. And the fact that they weren’t close to an answer about what actually happened was even more difficult. Especially for his daughter Bryne Hastings.
Bryne was only 12 years old when her father disappeared. When his body was discovered at a construction site that day in 2016, she was there with her family. She was just 15 years old.
“It’s tough. But I don’t regret it,” she said in a video posted on JUSTICE FOR ERIC HAIDER!!! Facebook page. “I said hello and goodbye at the same time.”
This page is updated frequently with information about Eric’s case. and ask to reopen and check again.
Mary Ellen hopes for an answer about her son’s death for her own peace of mind. And her family as well, her mother, Eric’s grandmother with whom he was close. It was never closed before she died last summer.
“She has heart complications like many of us do in our family,” Maryelen said. “But her heart was even more broken when Eric died. The only comfort I have now is that they are together.”
Today, Maryellen keeps her son’s ashes in an urn at her home. which is safe and warm Above the ground and surrounded by love
“I couldn’t put him back on the ground after we met him,” Maryellen said. “None again.”
It’s been nine years since Eric’s death this week. And while his family spent a decade searching for him and mourning him, They were not even close to giving up the fight for those involved in his death to take responsibility.
“I haven’t finished fighting yet,” Maryellen said. “As long as I’m alive I will continue to fight.”
Ask anyone with information about Eric’s case to call the Dickinson Police Department at 701-456-7759.