As we previously reported, 28 year-old Steven “Eriq” Escalon, a hairstylist in the Castro, was found dead in his apartment last June. Eriq had allegedly met 46 year-old James Rickleffs at the 440 the evening of the 12th. They went home together early the next morning. Eriq’s roommate came home later that day and found the apartment ransacked and Eriq unresponsive. Rickleffs has been arrested and charged for Eriq’s murder and first-degree residential robbery.
The Bay Area Reporter covered the recently completed medical examiners report which indicated that Eriq’s cause of death was GHB and nitrate intoxication and asphyxiation. Friends and family indicated that while Eriq enjoyed having some drinks and some smokes, he was not a drug user.
The scene the report paints is very chilling and sinister. A rag that smelled strongly of amyl nitrate was used to gag him. His legs were tied using a t-shirt with a methodically created knot. His hands were zip-tied together. Duct tape was wrapped around his ankles, legs, and torso. He was found wrapped in a blanket. There was no evidence of any external trauma.
Police say they have DNA evidence linking Rickleffs to Eriq’s murder, but have not said what kind. Rickleffs’ next hearing in court is next Monday, February 25th.