Most of the time when someone is sued for wrongful death it is shortly after the incident that caused the death. However, in an unusual case out of Wisconsin, the family of a murder victim is suing 40 years after the incident.
Forty years ago Gerald Wall was murdered in a Wisconsin bar by Ted Cydzik. At the time, Cydzik was an uneducated 19-year-old.
However, Cydzik was a model prisoner and became the first Wisconsin prisoner to receive a Bachelor's degree under a then new program. Then, Cydzik escaped and authorities were unable to locate him.
The Journal Sentinel,in an article titled "Wisconsin fugitive's secret life has victim's family seeking answers," reports that Cydzik actually fled to Florida.
Cydzik apparently assumed a new identity and started a technology company. He got married without anyone every figuring out that he was a fugitive. However, his wife became suspicious that he was not who he said he was and filed for divorce.
Cydzik then committed suicide.
When authorities finally pieced together who Cydzik was they did not tell the victim's family. The family only learned about it a few years later when a friend read a story online.
Cydzik's estate has been closed. However, Wall's family is seeking to have it reopened on the grounds that not all of the potential creditors were informed of Cydzik's death.
This is an interesting case. Under ordinary circumstances an estate is not reopened once it has been closed. But, if all creditors are not properly informed of the estate administration an estate can be reopened.
Reference: Journal Sentinel (December 10, 2014) "Wisconsin fugitive's secret life has victim's family seeking answers