Courtney Coco, a bright young lady from Rapides Parish, Louisiana, was a college student at Northwestern State University pursuing a degree in criminal justice. She was last seen by her mother, Stephanie Belgard, on October 1, 2004, which also happened to be the first day of squirrel hunting season.
Courtney rebuffed the family’s invitation to go camping for the weekend, saying she wasn’t the outdoorsy kind. Stephanie remembers her daughter’s drive to succeed and strong work ethic with affection. Despite the tragedy that befell her, Courtney’s sisters and nephews still miss her joie de vivre.
In October 2004, Courtney Coco’s body was found in an abandoned building near Winnie, Texas. Her killer has never been caught and her family is fighting for justice. Do you have any info to help solve Courtney’s case? #WhoKilledCourtneyCoco #Dateline https://t.co/Gbd2kL3CC3 pic.twitter.com/4fIXvaYoH7
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) October 25, 2020
What Happened to Courtney Coco?
Courtney’s bones were found in an abandoned building in Winnie, Texas, on October 4, 2004. Although homicide was declared to be the cause of death, the precise cause could not be established due to the condition of her decomposing body. When her mother heard the news, she couldn’t believe it was her daughter and expressed her shock.
On April 13, 2021, seventeen years after Courtney’s passing, David Anthony Burns was detained and accused of second-degree murder in connection with the incident. It is thought that Burns, who was once engaged to the victim’s older sister Lace Evans, killed Courtney while attempting to rob her. It was made known that multiple witnesses testified during the trial about Burns and Courtney’s covert relationship.
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Burns was found guilty on October 31, 2022, and on November 28, 2022, he was given a life sentence without the possibility of release. Even though justice has been done, Courtney’s family is still in mourning over their loved one’s passing.
Nearly two decades after the body of Courtney Coco was found inside an abandoned building in Texas, a man has been arrested in connection to her murder. https://t.co/mUuuIglDVp
— Andrea Cavallier (@acavallierNYC) April 15, 2021
Why did Courtney Coco pass away?
Courtney Coco, then 19 years old, vanished from her parent’s home in 2004 as they were out camping. Later, in a decayed state, her remains were discovered in an abandoned building near Willie, Texas. Pillow smothering was found to be the cause of death.
After more than 16 years of investigation, the case was finally solved, and David Anthony Burns—who was both Coco’s older sister’s fiancé and her covert boyfriend—was apprehended after witnesses came forward to claim that he had confessed to the murder.
During the preliminary stages of the inquiry, the police omitted to mention these facts. Burns was given a life without parole term in November. An upcoming episode of NBC Dateline titled “Who Killed Courtney Coco?” will tell the tale of Courtney Coco and her family’s fight for justice.
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Where was Courtney Coco Found?
In Winnie, Texas, a deserted structure contained the remains of 19-year-old Courtney Coco. David Anthony Burns, who was dating Coco’s sister at the time of the incident, wasn’t charged with her murder until April 2021. When Burns was ultimately found guilty in October 2022, it was made clear from witness testimony that he had been seeing Coco while also dating her sister.
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