probe of Escalon killing
by Seth Hemmelgarn
Police are continuing their investigation into the death of Steven "Eriq" Escalon, 28, a gay San Francisco man whose body was found bound and gagged in June.
The San Francisco Police Department released a sketch last week of a person of interest in the case.
"There have been no arrests, and there have been several calls," Sergeant Scott Warnke, of the SFPD homicide unit, said Wednesday, August 8.
He said he couldn't share what the calls were.
As police investigate the case, Esmeralda Escalon, Eriq Escalon's mother, is hoping for more information to come in. She and several other family members came to San Francisco last weekend to distribute fliers with photos of her son, who was found in his apartment in the 5000 block of Diamond Heights Boulevard on June 12, and the police sketch.
Like others who knew her son, Escalon, who lives in Fresno, said she has no idea who could have killed him.
"The people that knew him knew how big of a heart Eriq had," Escalon, 47, said in a phone interview before her visit to the city. "... He does not sit there and judge anyone. He does not sit there and gossip about anyone. That was not his nature at all."
The bulletin police released July 31 says the man they're seeking was seen getting into a cab with Escalon in front of the bar 440 Castro at about 1:30 a.m. the day he was killed. The man is described as white or Hispanic, 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches, with a slim build. He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt.
Warnke has said speculation that Escalon's killing was related to a hookup is being investigated. Police have also suggested that whoever killed Escalon stole a TV and other items from his home.
Escalon expressed doubt about the possibility that her son had hooked up with someone just before his death.
"He's never even done that here, why would he do that there?" she said.
Early Saturday afternoon, August 4, Aaron Escalon, 22, quietly took in the bustling scene near Castro and 18th streets, about a block away from where his older brother was seen the morning he died. A small metal tag bearing the dates of Eriq Escalon's birth and death hung from his neck.
He said he doesn't think his brother brought someone back to his apartment.
"He won't just bring any random person home," Escalon said. Eriq Escalon has been described as being outgoing, but the younger Escalon highlighted his ability to read people.
"My brother, he's on his toes," Escalon said.
It's not clear whether police think the man seen with Escalon in the Castro hours before he died is also responsible for his death. Warnke declined to comment on the issue. Skye Emerson, a friend of Escalon's, has said that she was texting with him just before noon the day he died. Asked this week about the conversation, she said, "It wasn't anything significant."
Esmeralda Escalon said if whoever killed her son had wanted items from his home, he would have given it to them.
"You didn't have to go to killing him," she said.
Escalon also discussed the possibility of the person of interest in her son's death being Hispanic. She indicated that would have made him ineligible to go out with her son. He "did not date Mexicans," she said.
"He thought he was white, but he was Mexican," Escalon said, laughing. She said she would tell him, "No, honey, you're daddy's Mexican, I'm Mexican ... you're Mexican."
Her voice grew quiet, though, when she talked about what the past several weeks have been like for her.
"It's been horrible," Escalon said. "This person did not only take my son's life, he took my life."
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