Darien family wants son’s killer brought to justice

scott corwin
Cpt. Jonathan Johnson of the U.S. Army Reserves stops to read the plaque dedicating an ash tree to the memory of Army Cpt. Scott Corwin during the city of Darien's Arbor Day observance at Darien Community Park. Corwin, a former Darien resident and graduate of Hinsdale South High School, was shot and killed while on duty in Georgia in May 2004. The Rev. Gavin Quinn of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish blessed the tree earlier in the ceremony. | Sun-Times Media file photo
Kimberly Fornek
kfornek@pioneerlocal.com
May 23 noon

A parent never gets over losing a child too young.

But when the child is murdered and the killer is not found, the parent wants others not to forget, too.

Scott Corwin, a 1995 Hinsdale South High School graduate, was 27 when he was fatally shot in Savannah, Ga. in 2004.

Greg Corwin will return to Savannah for the 10th anniversary of his son’s death on May 29, to push for answers.

“There are some things about the case that don’t add up,” Corwin said.

Scott grew up in Darien and played hockey and football at Hinsdale South. He was captain of the football team his senior year. He went on to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1999 with a degree in civil engineering and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

“From a young age, Scott was always interested in the military,” Corwin said.

Scott was deployed to Kosovo from November 2001 to May 2002.

He was back in the United States as an Army captain stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga., when he was walking home through historic Monterey Square in Savannah with his girlfriend at about 4 a.m. May 29.

People nearby reported hearing voices and gunfire. Scott died from a single gunshot. No weapon was found at the scene. No one was ever arrested. Scott’s wallet was on the ground, but nothing was missing from it, Corwin said.

It’s possible the shooting was a failed robbery, but Corwin is skeptical. Regardless, he feels the police have not been diligent enough in their investigation.

The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department reports the case is an ongoing investigation.

“One of our top homicide detectives is assigned to it,” said Julian Miller, the department’s public affairs administrator. “The family has been very involved with us. I met (Corwin) and the detectives a year ago and we called a press conference in (Monterey Square). We put it back out there, hoping something would turn up.”

Corwin, who lives outside Pittsburgh, said he has spent $30,000 on a private detective and gotten no leads. He has contacted every level of government from the local police department to the White House to no avail.

“It took me seven years to get a copy of the autopsy report,” Corwin said. The report shows the bullet went up through his son’s body at a 45-degree angle, he said. He believes this could indicate Scott was leaning over to talk to someone in a car when he was shot.

Corwin knows the odds are against him finding more evidence 10 years after the crime. But he wants to keep the case in the public arena, so that perhaps someone with a conscience will come forward.

“We want to find out who killed him. Scott deserves at least that much,” Corwin said. “When someone blows away a captain in the U.S. Army on the streets of America, that’s about as bad as it gets.”

Scott’s sister Jamie Gronke said she is happy her father goes to Savannah “to keep the pressure on the police force and the investigation,” although she does not expect much to happen.

“We need a break in the case. I wish there was more he or I could do,” said Gronke, who lives in Westmont.

She has a 5-year-old son, Mason Scott Gronke, whom she named after her brother.

“It’s so nice now to show my son who (Scott) was and tell him his uncle was part of something he can be proud of,” Gronke said.

Her brother was murdered just five days before she graduated from Hinsdale South in 2004. He was buried with full military honors in Clarendon Hills Cemetery.

“It really does feel like yesterday,” Gronke said.

The family, including Scott’s mother, Sonia, who lives in Darien, and his sister Allison, created the Captain Scott Corwin Foundation which provides support to military personnel and their families, offers a leadership program for high school athletes and awards a scholarship each year to a member of the Hinsdale South football team.

In November 2011, Scott was inducted into Hinsdale South High School’s Hall of Fame.

For more information, visit www.captainscottcorwinfoundation.org.

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