“Here in Chicago, all they talk about is gun violence,” Diana Pierce said. “They don’t talk about those who were murdered by beatings, stabbings, or intentional vehicle homicide”
Diana’s son DeColbie Esco, affectionately known as Coby, was murdered on August 25, 2012, in Chicago. He was spending the afternoon with a group of friends when they were attacked by a group of individuals demanding to know what gang they were affiliated with, despite no one in the group being a part of a gang.
After the fight broke out, Coby and his friends tried to make their way back home. Coby and another friend were once again chased by the original group of attackers later that night. Coby was struck by one of their vehicles and dragged two blocks down the street.
Trouble is easy to find in Chicago, and Coby found it a few times in his younger days.
“Older adults would approach these kids and tell them they wouldn’t get in trouble for selling drugs,” Diana said. That simply wasn’t the case. “We had to work hard to get that cleaned up,” she recalled.
In high school, Coby loved to play sports. He was on the basketball and football teams and would earn a scholarship to play collegiate football at Wingate University in North Carolina. Coby had offers to play at a Division 1 school in North Dakota, but he “was ready to leave the colder weather,” his mother stated.
“It was important for me to have him leave Chicago and go to college,” Diana told Project: Cold Case. “I refused for him to stay in town.”
College was tough for Coby, but he fought through the struggles and graduated, thanks to the push from his mother and older brother.
“He called me every day,” Diana said. “He just wanted to leave.”
Coby graduated from college in 2008. Just two years later, he would become a father when DeColbie Esco, Jr. was born.
Coby Jr. would often stay with Diana. When she would bring him back home to his father, Coby Jr. would walk through the front door and just say “dada!” and run to his dad. That memory is very special for Diana.
After his father’s murder, Junior would continue to search for his dad in the house, walking around and saying “dada” over and over. But his father would never come around the corner.
“I would weep like a baby,” Diana said. “I would just hug him.”
One night, Junior woke Diana up around 4:00 in the morning and asked if he could watch TV. Diana originally refused, stating that they had to attend church in the morning.
“Can I watch TV in dada’s room?” Junior asked.
Diana helped set Junior up to watch TV. He then turned to her and asked, “do you think dada will come back here?”
“I just cried and hugged him,” she recalled.
Since her son’s murder, Diana has been very active in the community and reaching out the investigators. But 2020 has been difficult in that sense.
“I feel like I’m failing him and now we can’t do anything thanks to Covid,” she said. “I want to get back on that. I don’t call like I used to. I used to bug them all the time.”
Calling the detectives can often be a struggle. “Before I make the call, I have to encourage myself,” Diana said. “I feel overwhelmed and anxious calling them. I almost have a panic attack before I call.”
Diana has a pair of Coby’s shoes that she had spray painted gold. She travels the world with them and takes photos of them on location to share on social media. It’s her way of keeping a piece of Coby with her.
“I took them to Rome, Florence, and London,” Diana said. “I never started traveling until 2015. Then I decided to travel on Coby’s birthday.”
Diana hasn’t had the chance to travel, like most people, in 2020 but she has grand plans for future trips.
“My new goal is once I retire I will travel the world!” she said.
Diana has also partnered with Notes for Peace and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to write and record a song in Coby’s memory. You can view that tribute to DeColbie Esco Sr. here.
If 2020 wasn’t difficult enough, in February, Diana’s home caught fire and burned down.
“I lost everything in the fire except for my life,” Diana said. “I lost the book that I shared with Project: Cold Case, I lost Coby’s golden shoes, everything.” Also lost in the fire was Coby’s degree. Diana stated she plans to reach back out to the school to receive a new copy.
February 6, 2017
On August 24, 2012, DeColbie “Coby” Esco Sr. was out with friends on the north side of Chicago, Illinois. As the group of friends exited a bus on Western Ave. they were approached by a Hispanic male demanding to know what gang they were with.
Coby and his friends explained that they were not in a gang and continued on their way. Before they knew what was going on the friends were attacked by a group of individuals that had been sitting in a parked van nearby. Once the altercation ended Coby helped an injured friend to his house close by and waited until he felt safe to get back on a bus and head home.
As Coby and a friend made their way eastbound on Foster, headed to Western Ave, the group of men involved in the previous altercation pulled up in multiple cars and began chasing Coby and his friend. The two friends became separated and Coby ran towards help. He was struck and dragged for several blocks by the vehicle chasing him.
Coby was a 30-year-old father of one when he was purposely run down by individuals in the Lincoln Square area of Chicago. He was also a friend, brother, and son. Coby grew up in Southside of Chicago where trouble was easy to find. ‘
As a young teen, Coby got into some of that trouble, but with the support and help of his mother, Coby shifted his focus to school and football. Coby went on to graduate high school and accept a scholarship to play football for Wingate University. After graduating from college, Coby went back to Chicago to work with young people growing up in his old neighborhood.
Coby dedicated his life to giving back and helping. Coby was employed by One Hope United in the child development center when he was killed. Coby’s mom continues to push for answers and justice in her son’s case and has created a Facebook page, Coby Esco “I WAS HERE”, to keep his memory alive. She also shared her grief journey in the book, Grief Diaries: Project Cold Case.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Coby Esco Sr. please call the Investigator Robert Nunn at the Chicago Police Department at (312) 742-8714 or (312) 742-8715. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a $1,000 reward, call Cook County Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 535-STOP.
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