The disappearance of the boy triggered one of the largest nationwide search and the despair of his parents. They both prayed for their son to return safely home with his family.
For five weeks, former NBA player, Julius Erving, and his wife, Turquoise, were only hoping that their youngest son, Cory, would return home. The boy had gone out on the afternoon of May 28, 2000 to buy bread near his home and never came back.
Julius Erving of Tri State watches the action against the Ball Hogs during week two of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at United Center on June 29, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. I Image: Getty Images.
After finding his body inside a car submerged in a pond just a mile from his family ‘s home, a public memorial service, attended by more than 1,500 people, was held to honor the 19-year-old son of the basketball legend. At the funeral, his brother Julius III said:
“I took Cory’s life for granted. I promise I won’t take anyone else’s life for granted.”
Cory was on his way home by a route he had apparently used before. Investigators say he used a dirt road linking Alaqua Lakes to Erving's home in Alaqua. It seems that Julius and Turquoise's youngest son was disoriented by some logs of wood placed on the road and when he saw the water it was too late to stop.
The teenager was driving without a seat belt and with the seat reclined. The windows of the Volkswagen Passat were slightly open and the four doors were locked. Unfortunately, Cory was unable to get out of the car on time before the water filled it up.
More than 1,500 people were part of the funeral service held to honor Cory’s memory. Singer Patti LaBelle, a family friend, performed "The Lord's Prayer," and other celebrities and friends joined family members. Cory's sister broke down in tears, while older brother, Cheo, apologized for not giving him the best example.
The teenager's friends remembered him as a cheerful young man who used to play tricks on his friends and teachers at school.
Julius Erving looks on during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Sports Legacy Symposium presented by the Hyde Family Foundation on January 19, 2009 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. I Image: Getty Images.
Erving had previously revealed that his son had been struggling for years to recover from a substance abuse problem. Both parents were convinced that their son had already left the addiction behind and that he was drugs free. However, a preliminary examination of the boy's body indicated otherwise.
Blood test results indicated that the youngster had been consuming cocaine 28-48 hours before the accident. On the other hand, the amount found in the body would not be relevant to the accident that the boy suffered.
Two years after the accident, the former NBA player filed a lawsuit against the security company that worked in real estate development and construction.
In the lawsuit, the Hall of Fame player makes such company responsible for his son’s accident because they did not properly put a warning signal in the area. In addition, a security guard let his son in and did not inform him when the search for the teenager began.
This and other moments of Erving’s tumultuous life are outlined in the biography he wrote. In the book, he honestly talks about his marital problems, his infidelities, illegitimate children, and other issues.
Erving retired in 1987 and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1993, since then he keeps being linked to the basketball as a sportscaster and sports executive.
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