The family, friends and community around Dalton Mesarchik still are asking questions and seeking answers related to his 2003 death.
Dalton’s mother, Michelle, led a gathering at Heritage Park in Streator of about 50 community members in prayer, requesting that someone who knows what happened comes forward.
“For 20 years, Dalton’s killer has been on the street, living his life like nothing happened and thinking he got away with what he did to Dalton,” Michelle said. “There’s no such thing as a perfect crime. Just know that his days of walking free are numbered.”
Dalton was 7 years old when he was reported missing on March 26, 2003, after disappearing from the front yard of his home in Streator while waiting for a ride to Bible study. His body was found in the Vermilion River the following day.
Michelle prayed that someone will come forward with the knowledge investigators need to solve the crime.
Jenni Richards, a lifelong friend and adopted family member of Michelle’s, said the day Dalton died broke their entire family.
“The full family, everyone from the little ones up,” Richards said. “You know, how the kids have been raised have been different because of this, and how we have lived our lives has been different. There was a before and an after.”
There’s still all these stories that go around, and yet we’re still standing 20 years later asking for justice.— Jenni Richards, a lifelong friend of Michelle Mesarchik
Richards said the family still is in the “after” she referred to, still waiting for someone who has information on the crime to step up and share it.
“There’s still all these stories that go around, and yet we’re still standing 20 years later asking for justice,” Richards said. “I mean, it’s ridiculous. He was 7 years old.”
Richards said at this point, the family deserves peace and so does Dalton.
Maddie Malley grew up a block and a half away from Dalton’s childhood home, and attended school with him. They were in the same class. She remembers Dalton as an amazing kid.
“You deserve answers,” Malley said. “We all deserve answers. I’ve been stuck with this for 20 years. We were in the same class. We lived a block and a half away from each other. I was scared to death.”
Retired Livingston County Sheriff Bob McCarty said the entire incident, the investigation, and all the time he spent with Michelle and Dalton’s family has affected him.
“It’s impacted in a way that still affects me,” McCarty said. “For those who say that police officers are shallow and careless, we are impacted just like everyone else.”
Michelle said every child in Streator was affected by Dalton’s murder.
“This community needs to heal, too,” Michelle said. “There’s a whole new generation, and most of these kids Dalton’s age are raising their own children now.”
The vigil closed with a balloon release, attendees’ way of saying “hello” to Dalton.
The investigation into Dalton’s death remains active, and the FBI and the Illinois State Police are still requesting information. Those with information on the case can contact the FBI’s toll free tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or 1800-225-5324. The FBI can also be reached by contacting the local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or by going to tips.fbi.gov.
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 case was highlighted on YouTube personality LordanARTS channel with more than 20,000 views. A Justice for Dalton Mesarchik Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/daltonmesarchik has also been established.