It’s a case 44News has been following since May 23rd, 2017. That’s when a young man was found dead in the backyard of a home in Evansville. Two years later his family is still seeking justice as police continue to investigate his murder.
Thursday will mark two years since 22 year old De’Niko Scott was found gunned down in the 400 block of S. Morton Avenue in Evansville. His murder remains unsolved and no arrests have ever been made. Two years later the same unanswered questions, who shot De’Niko and what happened in that alley?
On May 23rd, 2017 a woman living at 408 S. Morton woke up to check on her dog. What she found in her backyard would trigger a tsunami of change for a family, it also started an investigation that’s gone on for years with few answers.
Around 3:30 in the morning Evansville City-County Dispatch received a 911 call for shots fired. Detective Aaron McCormick with Evansville Police Department’s Adult Crime Investigative Unit says the caller reported hearing 3 shots but no evidence was found in the dark of the early morning, “Our patrol units arrived in the area checked it out and no other calls were made.”
Hours later and about a block away from where the original shots were heard, a victim was found dead. At the time police were asking anyone who could help identify the man to call.
De’Niko Scott was a new dad. Scott’s mom says Zayden was Niko’s greatest joy in life at the time of his death, “He just loved being a dad,” said LaDonna Johnson. Detective McCormick keeps pictures of Zayden and Niko in his case file, “When I open this up it’s a reminder that a son has lost his father to a heinous crime.”
Scott was a standout basketball star at Harrison High School but at just 22 years old the star with a bright future was found dead. Detective McCormick says evidence of a shooting was apparent at the scene, “Throughout the investigation of the area they found quite a few shell casings in this property and the alley.”
Niko’s loved ones have lived with the pain for two years now and want the truth from those involved. Investigators know Scott was with a handful of people in the early morning of May 23rd but those witnesses have greatly hindered any prosecution, “Cooperation from the subjects that were here that night, who were directly involved in this, their cooperation has been next to none,” said Detective McCormick.
Another obstacle for investigators, at the time, no homes or businesses in the area had any surveillance video.
Cell phone evidence was collected but not enough to prove murder, “Two years has passed nearly and along the lines these folks involved are going to continue to commit crimes and eventually we’ll get a break,” said McCorkmick.
Little cooperation and perhaps lack of sufficient evidence frustrates more than just police, the pain weighs heavy on Niko’s mom, “It’s so hurtful he’s not here with me and I have to keep going on each and everyday. I have to walk past his bedroom each and everyday knowing he’s not there, he’s not going to be in there. Sometimes I don’t even like walking in my house because I know I have to walk past his room and he’s not there, I’m not going to hear his voice anymore.”
Niko’s family says all they want are answers. Anyone with information is asked to call Evansville Police. Anonymous tips can be left by calling the We-Tip Hotline.