One year after Halloween hit-and-run incident, killer remains at large


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Kaiti Chritz | Photo Editor A memorial, set up by Mike Bell and Dominic Atkinson for Ryan Tsatsos, sits outside of Merrill Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Tsatsos, a CMU freshman, was killed in a hit and run accident just after midnight on Nov. 1 while walking back to campus.

Nearly one year ago today, Ryan Tsatsos, a Central Michigan University freshman was walking home, struck and killed by a vehicle traveling on Crawford Road.

His killer remains at large.

Numbers to know

Michigan State Police Mount Pleasant Post: (989) 773-5951

MSP Anonymous Tip Line: (877) 616-4677

Listening Ear Crisis Center: (989) 773-3329

Crime Stoppers (for reward): (800) 422-5245

“We have no suspect at this time,” said Detective Sgt. Jeff Hunger of the Michigan State Police. “We have followed up on numerous leads. We have no new information that would change the initial description (of the car) that was released.”

Police say the vehicle was a dark-colored four door car and likely has damage to the front passenger side. The car was traveling north on Crawford Road when it struck Tsatsos, who was walking to his on-campus residence hall after attending a Halloween party.

In the weeks following the incident, an anonymous tip line was established to help aid investigators. In April, Tsatsos’ parents, Julie and Paul, held a press conference in conjunction with Crimestoppers offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. 

Since April, Hunger said MSP has received more than 70 tips about the case.

“We’ve followed up on everything,” he said. “There are still some investigative avenues we are exploring. But nothing has led to a suspect at this point.”

Meanwhile, Paul and Julie Tsatsos are doing all they can to cope with the frustration of their son’s killer escaping justice.

“That person might think he or she is getting away with it, but they are not,” Paul Tsatsos said. “If they are not feeling any guilt, then I am quite certain there is special place in hell for them.”

The fall months have become difficult for the Tsatsos’ to bear. Halloween decorations in department stores and in front of houses bring back painful memories.

“The past few weeks have not been easy,” Julie Tsatsos said. “I can’t go to the store because I see the Halloween stuff. I don’t go that much anymore.”

Julie is a elementary school teacher who has been focused on getting her mind back on her work and students since the incident.

“They love Halloween,” she said. “I’m taking off certain days because I know my heart won’t be there for them.”

The Tsatsos parents have remained in close contact with friends of Ryan’s who were with him when he died. They say a strong sense of faith has helped them get through the last year.

“God has a plan and it’s not for us to know. That’s the hard part,” Paul said.

Paul and Julie have had time to reflect on the incident and sort through every “what if” scenario they could think of.

“That’s what gets to you,” Paul said. “He at one point had talked about taking a semester off. We helped him see the best thing to do was to stay in school.”

Despite a year with no arrest, the couple is sure that their son’s killer will pay for what they have done.

“We have to keep the faith,” Julie said. “I know justice will be served.” 

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About Dominick Mastrangelo

Dominick Mastrangelo is the Editor in Chief of Central Michigan Life. Contact him at: editor@cm-life.com 

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