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Convicted Killer Charged In The Murder Of Missing Sunrise Woman Erika Verdecia

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) - Sunrise police have made an arrest and recovered the body of Erika Verdecia who was reported missing last month.

Verdecia, 33, was last seen on September 24th in the area of 8200 Sunset Strip. Her mother Carmen reported her missing on September 28th.

At the time, police said Verdecia was the mother of a young daughter and her disappearing was completely out of character.

Carmen Verdecia reached out on social media for any information on her daughter and discovered that Erika was with Eric Pierson when he was stopped by police on September 25th.

Erika Verdecia
Erika Verdecia (Source: Sunrise Police)

On October 4th, police made contact with Pierson. He reportedly told them Verdecia was with him when he was stopped and after that, they went to a gas station for fuel. He told them while they were there, Verdecia walked away and told him to meet her at a nearby Wendy's, according to his arrest report.

Pierson reportedly said he went to the restaurant but she never showed up and he never saw her again.

Police reviewed surveillance tape from the gas station and discovered Pierson stopped there before he was pulled over, according to the arrest report. Surveillance video from the Wendy's did not show Pierson there, according to police.

After a review of Verdecia's phone records, police questioned Pierson again on October 15th at their headquarters. During questioning, Pierson signed a consent to enter and search his truck.

Forensic testing found what was presumptive to be blood in the rear passenger compartment, according to police.

Police said they received a call from Pierson's girlfriend that night who said he told her "If they don't find a body, they don't have a case."

She also reportedly told them that Pierson had been acting oddly over the last few weeks.

She said Pierson had said "Damn that (expletive) stinks" while they were outside of her mobile home, according to the arrest report. She also reportedly told police that she noticed rocks and debris piling up in the canal behind the mobile home and that Pierson's rear truck mats were missing.

On October 16th, a Davie police dive team recovered a woman's body from the canal. The medical examiner positively identified it as Verdecia.

Police contacted Pierson again and during questioning he admitted to killing Verdecia, according to the arrest report. Police said Pierson confessed to stabbing the Verdecia with a screwdriver on Sept. 25.

Pierson was taken into custody and has been charged with first degree murder.

"Although this tragic news does not bring Erika back to her family and friends, we hope that it can bring some closure to her loved ones," Sunrise police said in the tweet.

In September 2020, Pierson was released from prison after serving 27 years of a 40-year sentence for the 1993 beating and strangling 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker.

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