Troubled, fun-loving man's death a mystery
Published: Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 11:58 p.m.
More than 10 weeks after Sean Francis Parker was found dead in the trunk of an abandoned car near Sonoma State University, his family still has no answers as to what happened in his final hours.
The clues lie in a three-day span between Jan. 11, when he flew into a drunken rage and drove away from a Santa Rosa home, and Jan. 14, when a deputy found his body in a car illegally parked on Petaluma Hill Road.
“It hurts to the pit of my stomach to think of his last few hours, what he went through,” said his uncle, Cliff Parker of Modesto.
Sonoma County sheriff's officials aren't disclosing how Parker was killed, saying those details are essential as they interrogate suspects.
Deputies have been piecing together the hours and have theories as to what occurred, Lt. Dennis O'Leary said. Physical evidence from the car is under analysis at a state lab and they expect it to help confirm their suspicions.
“We believe that once we get the results that it will point us in the direction of who committed the crime,” O'Leary said.
Parker leaves behind two sons, ages 9 and 3.
“You always worry about what your kids are up to, but not like this,” said his mother, Elana Parker, 55, of Manteca. “This was not something I could have ever dreamed up in my worst nightmares.”
Authorities initially were investigating whether a Jan. 11 domestic violence incident between Parker and the mother of his children sparked the events that led to his death. However that is no longer the focus of their investigation, O'Leary said.
The boys' mother, Crystal Borsik, 29, of Santa Rosa, said she doesn't know who killed the man she's known since they were 13 in Petaluma. Although they weren't in a relationship, they always remained close and relied on each other even throughout turmoil, she said.
“That night I guess he'd gotten into a pursuit with police,” and ran from the car, Borsik said. “He called me and said he needed a ride. When I went to pick him up, he was enraged, blacked out, drunk, I think.”
Parker stabbed her in the elbow and kicked down her door, Borsik said.
“He got the car keys, took off and left and that was the last time I saw him,” Borsik said.
She heard he was with several friends the next day.
Borsik said that she considered Parker family although he was troubled. She said Parker loved his sons and helped raise them, including staying home with them during their early years.
“We always found each other,” Borsik said. “He always tried to be really involved with the boys.”
Parker grew up in the Central Valley town of Manteca and Petaluma, where he attended Casa Grande High School for a time before finishing school in juvenile hall.
Parker named his first born after his father Maurice Parker, who died at age 39 in 1996 when Parker was 13.
Cliff Parker said he helped his sister-in-law raise Parker and his brother Justin during the years they lived close by, sometimes in the same building. The boys grew up with their cousins, Cliff Parker's three daughters.
“I don't have any boys and him and Justin are as close as I've got,” Cliff Parker said. “One of the five is gone; when we get together now one of them is missing.”
Parker's personality was big, his mother and others said. Even at birth, Parker was a boisterous 9 pounds 8 ounces. And as a man Parker's baseline attitude was positive, even through tough times. Parker was the one to give a long tribute at his grandmother's December funeral, his uncle said.
“He was a great debater. We could spend hours and hours debating something,” Elana Parker said. “He could see it from all sides.”
“I always called him my entertainment. He'd light up the room, a loud voice, really funny, a big smile,” Borsik said.
Parker liked to drink and party and spent money as soon as he got it, said Merari Hernandez, 24, of Cotati, who had dated Parker off-and-on since 2010.
Each day, Parker would thank her for loving him and propose marriage, she said.
“His laugh — I have videos of him and still I play them — his laugh lights up a room,” Hernandez said.
But Parker's enthusiasm also fueled his involvement in drugs and alcohol.
“He was battling with drugs. I didn't want to tolerate that,” said Hernandez, who said their relationship faltered when she stopped drinking and partying.
Parker spent several stints in Sonoma County Jail over the last decade for receiving stolen property, drunken driving, driving with a suspended license and domestic violence, court records show.
He had been struggling with health ailments and over the last year had become distanced from his family and others who had been close to him, his uncle and Borsik said.
Parker turned 31 the week before his body was found.
“I just want answers,” said Borsik. “I just want something to make it easier.”
Knowing what happened will help her respond to her sons' questions as they grow older, Borsik said.
Parker's uncle agreed.
“Having no answers is worse than anything. It's the hardest thing, I can't sleep ... I've never been this far out of kilter,” Cliff Parker said.
Even after Parker's funeral in February, his family has continued to hold small rituals to remember him. They each wrote prayers for Parker when they gathered for a family dinner several weeks ago, lighting the notes on fire in the yard, sending their messages to his spirit in smoke.
Cliff Parker joined a grief support group and last week tied a poem he wrote about Parker on a balloon he released into the sky.
“There are so many ramifications for all those left behind,” Cliff Parker said.
Anyone with information about the case can call the Sheriff's Office violent crimes unit at 565-2185.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or email@example.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.