Ten years after the bludgeoning murder of Dalton Mesarchik, a child who was last seen alive on his porch and next found in theVermilionRiversouth of Streator, investigators keep the case open.
A program for a remembrance ceremony Saturday had a photo of the boy smiling and walking and the words, “In Loving Memory of Dalton Mesarchik. Forever 7.” And while family members continue to grieve the loss and remain angry that a murderer prevented Dalton from progressing through stages of life to his senior year of high school, family members hope for a break in the case as well as the prevention of similar crimes against children.
During the 10th anniversary program attended by about 60 residents in addition to a dozen members of media in front of Streator’s city hall and police station, state police Zone 5 commander Lt. Tad Williams emphasized the loss the family has endured and the stand Dalton’s mother has taken.
Michelle Mesarchik, who last spring earned a degree in criminal justice from Illinois Valley Community College, perseveres in the pursuit of the murderer and also is on a mission to prevent violence against children and to prevent child abductions.
“Michelle has chosen to be active in the solution of the case,” Williams said, “and of protection of young children.”
Michelle Mesarchik said the focus needs to be on justice for Dalton, but also the morally correct thing is to take a stand against violence against children.
“What I’ve found in these last 10 years is we all have a responsibility in this society to do the right thing: protecting children and teaching them to protect themselves is something we all should be concerned about,” she said.
“In theMidwest, child abduction increased between March and October. More children are out playing, and it means more children are accessible to predators. I fear this time of year because I knowDaltonwasn’t the first or last child this will ever happen to,” she continued.
“… Ask yourself what you can do to make sure no other child dies at the hands of a predator — not here, not anywhere.”
Wooden silhouette cutouts representing children who have gone missing or been murdered stood on the front lawn of the city building, with anti-violence signs and gravestones representing victims including Mesarchik.
Though there have been no major new developments in the investigation, Williams said a $50,000 reward remains in effect for information that leads to the arrest of Mesarchik’s killer. He said the case continues to be a priority for law enforcement and the Streator community.
He said since 2003, nearly 2,000 leads and tips have been investigated, and many tips led to additional information. He said 482 pieces of evidence have been or are being examined, and Zone 5 Task Force, state and Streator police and Livingston County investigators as well as the FBI and La Salle and Livingston county state’s attorneys remain on the case. He said new police recruits in the area immediately are given placards providing them with pertinent information on the case so they can be familiar and alert.
“We hope you understand that this is an ongoing investigation,” Williams assured the crowd.
Information on the Mesarchik case is posted on http://isp.state.il.us/ (found beside crimes, under unsolved). Tips or information can be called in to authorities at (815) 844-1500 Ext. 2321, (815) 672-9000, (815) 844-0911, (815) 844-2774 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
After a musical selection and lyrics including, “Looking for answers, and nobody knows,” Judy Miller, girlfriend ofDalton’s father, George Scott, read a statement from Scott that concluded that he dreams the day that there will be justice and accountability in the case.
Jenny Richards, sister and friend of Dalton’s mother, read a lengthy essay, citing poetry, all in the theme of time — time lost forever as family members never got to observe Dalton growing up through stages of life such as his upcoming 18th birthday, him never getting to participate in sports, never learning to drive, never becoming a young man, not getting to know nephews and nieces and not being able to see his mother receive a college diploma.
“Time has been an eternity for us because the love of our life has been taken,” Richards said.
She said the family has been struggling to cope while being unable to really move on, has been struggling together to get by day by day and to keep households together.
“The trauma of his murder is forever tied into the memory of him,” Richards said. She said she still believesDalton’s killer will be caught and she “cannot wait” to gaze upon the face of the killer and see that justice will be done.
Craig Sterrett can be reached at (815) 220-6935 or email@example.com.