Dalton Mesarchik’s family holds vigil on 21st anniversary of his death in Streator, seeks answers

‘I was hoping we wouldn’t be here again this year,’ Dalton’s mother says

Photos lined up of  7-year-old  Dalton Mesarchik at the vigil at Heritage Park in Streator on Saturday March 30.

Community and family members gathered Saturday to remember 7-year-old Dalton Mesarchik, of Streator, and to seek answers and justice following his 2003 homicide.

“Tuesday was 21 years and I was hoping we wouldn’t be here again this year,” Dalton’s mother, Michelle said. “Saying the same thing we’ve done all these years. I was hoping possibly we would have some good news to share.”

Michelle Mesarchik led the vigil at Heritage Park in Streator thanking those who have supported her family throughout their journey and requesting people with information to come forward.

“The only thing I can ask is if you’re in the Streator community, pay attention to who has something to say,” she said. “Who’s starting rumors? The FBI did say it is someone close to our family or removed from our family – not a family member – but someone close to our family and we believe that too.”

“Somebody’s had to have heard or seen something that they can bring forth that can bring an end to this. And that’s all I’m asking. For this family to have closure.”

—  Marianne Williams, Dalton Mesarchik's cousin

The vigil was small with mostly family members gathering in remembrance. Michelle Mesarchik said on Facebook Live she is hoping to plan something big for Dalton’s golden birthday next month.

“He would have been 29 on April 29 and since he’s not here for his birthday, I thought we should have a big celebration,” she said.

Mesarchik was 34 days shy of his eighth birthday when he vanished from his family’s enclosed porch around 7:15 p.m. on March 26, 2003, in Streator, waiting for a ride to bible study.

Law enforcement ascended on the scene with bloodhounds 45 minutes after he was reported missing, according to news reports at the time. The church driver had a family emergency out of state. The family said they were not notified.

Mesarchik was found less than 24 hours after he was reported missing in the Vermilion River, south of Streator in Livingston County by a fisherman around 11:30 a.m. on March 27.

The murder weapon, a three-pound Benchtop Pro sledgehammer– only sold at KMart, was found a few miles from the river in a steel trash receptacle, behind the Polish National Alliance Hall. News reports at the time said the hammer had Mesarchik’s blood on it and the hammer was undergoing further forensic tests.

Marianne Williams, Dalton’s cousin, said 21 years is too long for a child’s murder to go unsolved.

“This family has been through too much,” she said.

Williams said she encourages anyone with information to bring it to the authorities to bring closure to the family.

“It needs to be solved,” she said. “Somebody’s had to have heard or seen something that they can bring forth that can bring an end to this. And that’s all I’m asking. For this family to have closure.”

Danielle, Dalton’s sister, said she believes law enforcement is closer to closing the case than they have been before.

“I think the last few years his case has been looked at from a different angle,” she said. “And I think that is probably going to be a big factor in finding a resolution to his case.”

Danielle Mesarchik said once that resolution comes, justice for her, her family and Dalton will come when they can look them in the eye in court.

“Getting the person that did it and seeing them in court and being able to say to them how we have felt all these years,” she said. “I mean I’m sure they’ve been paying attention ... but I feel like justice for us will be when we finally see him in court.”

The vigil closed with a poem written by Danielle Mesarchik about Dalton and a prayer.

Siobhan Johnson, a special agent and spokeswoman for the Chicago office, said the Illinois State Police and the FBI are the primary investigative agencies seeking information in Dalton’s case.

“I can also confirm that investigative efforts remain active and we continue to pursue new leads and analyze new data as they become available,” Johnson said.

Johnson said tips from the public remain an important resource in cases like this and the FBI and ISP encourage members of the public to reach out with information via tips.fbi.gov or 312-421-6700 (even anonymously).

Dalton’s disappearance and death has attracted nationwide attention over the years: His family appeared on the Steve Wilkos Show in June 2016 and the family announced they will appear in another episode this May.

The case also has been featured on YouTube and numerous podcasts, which Michelle said she has not given permission for approval of or seen any monetary funds from any that claim to donate to the families.

A Justice for Dalton Mesarchik Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/daltonmesarchik also has been established.

Community and Family members gathered to remember 7-year-old  Dalton Mesarchik on Saturday to seek answers and justice for his 2003 homicide.
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