Eric Haider Update

Eric Haider

Eric Haider

This continues the post about Eric Haider. I found some new details in an article I had not seen before. Maybe I just missed those details them but I thought I’d post it here anyway to have a more complete case description.

The article about Eric Haider is from Fox West Dakota. The new (to me) details I found are as follows:

A: In the autopsy, pathologists stated: “Positioning of the body at the time of excavation is suggestive of the decedent working on a pipe at the time of demise.”

I had read that Eric’s remains were found in a crouched down but upright position. It looked as if he was sitting down, pulling up his knees, and hugging them with his arm like in a “protective child position.” I took this screen shot (including the credits) from the clip in the news article. It explains the bodily position better.

Screen shot from Fox News

Screen shot from Fox News

B: His pacemaker indicated death around 12:19pm on May 24, 2012. This is five minutes after two coworkers started backfilling a hole that day. Those two men could have been charged with manslaughter or gross negligence. However, there isn’t enough circumstantial evidence to charge them.

C: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration could not investigate the case because the statute of limitations had expired.

D: In North Dakota, the statute of limitations for manslaughter and negligent homicide expires after three years.

Eric Haider from Bismarck, North Dakota, who went missing from his job site on May 24, 2012. In 2015, his remains were found about half a mile southwest of that particular job site. They were found in a 6-foot deep hole at a construction site in Dickinson, ND.

Later I found this:

Haider was probably buried alive by coworkers. Haider had been checking seals in the ditch where he died. “Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning declined to file criminal charges in the case. His decision, however, wasn’t unchallenged.” Henning said his decision not to file charges does not mean that he doesn’t believe a crime was committed. Rather, the nature of the event makes it difficult to develop probable cause for a case as it is unclear who is responsible.

At the time Haider was likely buried alive, there were two heavy machinery operators backfilling the trench Haider was working in. Even after the police investigation, Henning said it is not clear which one of the two operators was responsible for Haider’s death.

Henning said, from a standpoint of criminal culpability, it was possible for the foreman of the operators to be held accountable. Businesses can also be charged with crimes, but Henning said cases which would require that more often go to civil suits. He added that death offenses, like negligent homicide or manslaughter, generally have no statute of limitations.

When Henning chose not to file charges, the Dickinson Police Department decided to close the Haider case, an action which opened the record of the incident and the subsequent investigation to the public. A narrative within that record filed by Dickinson Police Detective Sgt. Kylan Klauzer, the lead investigator in the case, states Haider’s body was positioned in a “manner that was consistent with dirt being pushed in on top of it while it was seated near the pipe or while it had been standing and had been forced to the ground.