Mom’s plea 2 years after son’s death: ‘Just confess’

Ryan Tsastos hit by vehicle and killed near Mt. Pleasant in 2015

Courtesy photo of Ryan Tsatsos.

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. (WOOD) — For the second time since their son’s death, Julie and Paul Tsatsos stood in front of a room of reporters, hoping to keep Ryan Tsatsos’ story alive so someone will come forward with answers.

“It doesn’t get easier. It gets harder each day,” Julie Tsatsos said Wednesday. “It’s not for peace — because we will never have peace again, because our hearts are broken and empty — but just so we can let that part close.”

On a foggy Halloween weekend night two years ago, Central Michigan University freshman Ryan Tsastos was walking home from a party along a dark road with no sidewalks just southwest of the Mt. Pleasant campus. The 17-year-old from Macomb was struck by a vehicle and killed.

No one got a good look at the vehicle that hit him. Investigators were able to determine it was likely dark metallic blue. It may also have sustained front-end damage.

Two years later, the case has produced about 100 tips, but few clues. There’s little physical evidence.

“Someone knows something. Someone’s been there. Someone’s talked,” Julie Tsatsos said.

With no answers, the family and police are turning to the public for help once again. They’re reaching out well beyond the Mt. Pleasant area, knowing the campus attracts visitors from all over on a busy weekend like Halloween.

“Whether it’s from southeast, southwest, northern part (of Michigan), wherever, and could have easily been here in the Mt. Pleasant area just going to a party with friends,” said 1st Lt. Larry Schloegl of the Michigan State Police Mt. Pleasant Post.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward, $7,500 of which was raised by the Tsatsos family, for information leading to an arrest.

Investigators continue to work on the assumption the crash was an accident, not an intentional act to kill Ryan Tsatsos. His family agrees.

“It’s an accident. Just confess, OK? Just say you did it,” Julie Tsatsos said. “If you didn’t do it, if you know somebody, if someone wants to out the pieces together, that’s all we’re asking.”

Tips can be phoned in to Crime Stoppers at 1.800.422.JAIL (5245) or submitted anonymously via the Mid-Michigan Crime Stoppers website.