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Still waiting for answers: Family and friends protest closing of case on Eric Haider

Carrying homemade signs that they flashed toward the Public Safety Center and passing traffic, a small group of Eric Haider's family and friends convened Friday to protest the cessation of action on the case of the deceased Bismarck man, whose re...

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Mary Ellen Suchan, left, the mother of Eric Haider, who died in May 2012 in what Dickinson Police say was an accident at a construction site, stands in front of the Dickinson Public Safety Center with Sarah Lupkiewich, who organized a small rally against the police and Stark County State's Attorney, demanding further investigation into Haider's death. (Dustin Monke / The Dickinson Press)
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Carrying homemade signs that they flashed toward the Public Safety Center and passing traffic, a small group of Eric Haider’s family and friends convened Friday to protest the cessation of action on the case of the deceased Bismarck man, whose remains were unearthed in Dickinson last May -- nearly three years after he went missing.

The rally was organized via Facebook by a small group, who protested the Dickinson Police Department’s decision to close the investigation into his death, which was headed by Detective Sgt. Kylan Klauzer.

About five people took turns standing into stiff wind outside the Public Safety Center.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 or 100 (people), all we want is justice for Eric,” said Mary Ellen Suchan, Haider's mother. “He deserves that. We deserve that. His daughter deserves that. His friends deserve that.”

The protest was also scheduled to move to the Stark County Courthouse later on to protest Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning’s decision not to file criminal charges in the matter.

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Both the police department and Henning declined to comment on the event.

Haider went missing from a construction site north of Dickinson in May 2012 while he was working for Cofell’s Plumbing and Heating.

His remains were discovered buried last May near the same location where police and investigators initially searched, mainly through the work of private investigators hired by Suchan.

Sarah Lupkiewich, an organizer of the event who described herself as a friend of Haider, said she and others felt that something needed to be done in light of police considering the case closed.

“We figured, since they closed the case, we needed to get out here and be heard,” she said.

Lupkiewich explained her frustration concerning the police’s initial failure in locating Haider’s body, even while she and others tried pointing to the actual spot as the likely location. She said she didn’t understand how the case wasn’t being pursued further, given the circumstances.

“And now it’s just, nothing?” Lupkiewich asked. “It’s ridiculous.”

She described Haider as being “a good guy” and very kind.

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“He was very loving,” she said. “I don’t think he had a hateful bone in his body.”

Haider’s aunt, Maureen Haider, was also there with her husband, Shannon Bird. Both said they had taken days off of work to drive to Dickinson.

“The whole thing just doesn’t make sense,” Maureen Haider said.

She said all the unanswered questions made it look like something was being hidden or covered up about the case.

Whether Haider’s death was accidental or malicious, Maureen Haider said the case warranted the filing of some sort of charges.

“Just the answers is what everyone wants,” Bird said.

Suchan came from Rapid City, S.D., which she said she decided to do after she learned it was being organized.

She said she was angry about the seeming lack of explanations she has received regarding findings in her son’s case and why it was dropped.

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“There’s a million and one questions that haven’t been answered,” Suchan said

She said that the support for her son on Facebook helps her along, adding that many people don’t know what she is still going through following his death.

“It helps me get through each day,” Suchan said.

Suchan said she plans to keep seeking answers, but declined to say whether or not the family would pursue a civil case against either the Dickinson Police Department or Cofell’s Plumbing and Heating.

“I’ll fight till my end if I have to, but I’m not done,” she said. “Not by a long shot.”

Related Topics: DICKINSONPOLICE
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