The 2021 murder of a Sunrise single mother, Erika Verdecia, raised alarms in the Florida city, given that she was stabbed to death by a screwdriver by a convicted murderer, Eric Pierson, who was out of prison on probation. She went missing in September, and her body was found in a canal three weeks later. Pierson eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
Now, Verdecia's case is making it to ID's Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death. An upcoming episode of the show, titled Free to Kill Again, will recount the horrific story of how a convicted murderer aided by a failed system was able to murder an innocent again. The episode will air on October 16, 2022, at 9 pm ET.
The synopsis says:
"Erika Verdecia's family launches its own search when the 33-year-old goes missing in 2021, and the homegrown investigation uncovers a tragic trail of bloodshed 36 years in the making."
This article will further discuss a few chilling details about Erika Verdecia's murder case.
From the victim being stabbed multiple times to Pierson's girlfriend informing the cops: Here's 5 bone-chilling facts about Erika Verdecia's murder
1) Erika Verdecia was last spotted by cops the day after she went missing
Sunrise police claimed that they briefly interacted with Eric Pierson and Erika Verdecia during a traffic check on September 25 – the day Pierson claimed he killed her. Police said that she was a passenger in his truck and didn't seem to be at any risk.
Pierson reportedly told police on October 4 that Verdecia was with him when he was stopped that day and they drove to a gas station. He then stated that while they were there, Verdecia left and prompted him to meet her at a local Wendy's. However, she never came to the assigned location.
2) Verdecia was stabbed multiple times with a screwdriver
Pierson confessed to killing Erika Verdecia weeks after she mysteriously disappeared. He claimed that he stabbed her four times, twice in the neck and once in each eye, and then threw her body in the canal from where a squad of divers discovered it.
3) Her body was found after the killer's girlfriend tipped the cops
Authorities were tipped off by Eric Pierson's then-girlfriend, who claimed that the killer nearly confessed to her about murdering Erika Verdecia. On October 15, the girlfriend told authorities that Eric would constantly stare at the canal right behind her mobile home. Once, he reportedly said:
"Damn that b**ch stinks."
She further informed authorities that he said:
"If they don’t find a body, they don’t have a case."
Eric's girlfriend also mentioned seeing rocks and other debris piling up on the spot, which further raised her concerns about her boyfriend's questionable behavior. Authorities then arranged for a squad of divers, who found a body in the canal tied to rocks that helped it sink. The body was later identified as Erika Verdecia.
4) Erica Verdecia's killer was a convicted felon at the time
Verdecia's killer, Eric Pierson, was a convicted murderer who was out of prison under supervision at the time. Pierson was previously convicted twice, of which the first time he was sentenced guilty in a 1985 first-degree attempted murder case of a woman when he reportedly broke into a woman's home and attacked her by slashing her throat. He served only four years of an 18-year prison sentence and was released on parole.
In 1993, Pierson was once again arrested in connection with the murder of 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker. He reportedly assaulted and strangled her and left her to die at a construction site. Eric pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of the teenager and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He had only served about 27 years before getting released in September 2020, a year before Erika's murder.
5) Verdecia's blood was found in the backseat of Pierson's truck
During the investigation into Erika Verdecia's disappearance and murder, Eric Pierson, who was last seen with the victim, allowed authorities to examine his truck. Forensic tests revealed that blood was found in his truck's backseat, which reportedly belonged to Verdecia.
Tune in to Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death on ID this Sunday to learn more about the murder case.