The body of a 16-year-old Eric McGinnis was found in the St. Joseph River in 1991. His death was initially ruled an accident but is now being investigated as homicide by the Michigan attorney general’s office, reported The Associated Press.
McGinnis had disappeared from Benton Harbor in May of 1991, per AP’s report. His body had appeared along the river a few days later and his death was ruled an accidental drowning. The case had reopened in 2021 when reports said a witness had seen the moments leading up to McGinnis’ death.
More on the case from AP News:
The suspect in the case has been dead since 2003, said Lynsey Mukomel, a spokeswoman for the attorney general. No charges will be filed in the case, she said.
“While our efforts cannot bring Eric back, nor render justice in the eyes of the law, we do hope the family is vindicated by our department’s confirmation that Eric was indeed the victim of a homicide,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement.
McGinnis family attorney Leonard Mungo questioned why the attorney general’s office did not release the name of the suspect.
“While we appreciate the attorney general’s office reopening the case, they also fell far short as to naming that suspect. We believe it is inadequate and disrespectful to protect the name of a murderer. We request a disclosure immediately for the sake of transparency,” Mungo said in a statement.
This case is similar to that of Quawan Charles, the 15-year-old whose body was found in a sugar cane field in Louisiana in 2020. His death was also ruled an accidental drowning per autopsy reports. However, the manner of his death was still undetermined, reported ABC News.
More recently, the death of Jelani Day, an Illinois State University graduate student, was ruled a drowning. Though, the manner of his death is also unknown and his family insists foul play was involved, reported NBC Chicago.
Negligence in murder investigations isn’t uncommon, especially for Black victims. However, 30 years is a long time to wait for the truth about the death of your loved one. And there are still families waiting for answers.