Watch CBS News

Ericka Brair Killed In 'Crime Of Passion' Day Before She Was Due To Testify In Court

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A Philadelphia mother is pleading for help in finding out who killed her only child. It's been 14 years since Ericka Brair went out and never came home.

The Frankford High School senior suffered a brutal death. CBS3 Mysteries uncovered new information about a case Brair was supposed to testify about but never got the chance.

Brair was out partying with friends the night of March 15, 2007. The 18-year-old was due in court the following morning to testify as an eyewitness.

"She had been with a friend that was mugged in West Philadelphia, the trial was that day, she was summoned to go to court," Janice Collins Krause, Brair's mother, said.

That cold March morning, it was snowing in Philadelphia. The city was brushed by the Saint Patrick Day Nor'easter. Krause decided to check on her daughter.

"I went in to there at 6 o'clock in the morning to wake her and she wasn't there. And I thought well, she probably snuck out to buy a pack of cigarettes or something because she was nervous," she said.

Hours would pass, Krause couldn't get in touch with Brair.

"When I never heard from her, it was just, I knew something was wrong," Krause said.

And like that, Brair was missing. The 18-year-old senior from Frankford High School seemingly vanished.

"I was out every day, putting posters up, all kinds of neighborhoods," Krause said.

A month passed and then came the phone call. Detectives were at the house.

"They told me they had found the body and they wanted me to go down to the coroner's office and see if I could identify the body," Krause said.

A picture of a tattoo -- that's how Krause confirmed they had found her daughter.

She had been brutally stabbed dozens of times in what homicide investigators called a crime of passion.

Krause recalls how her daughter often eased her mind -- words that now ring heavy.

"Ah, nothing is going to happen to me, I'm tough, I'm Philly, I'm streetwise, I'm OK," she said.

Philadelphia police did have a person of interest in the case. They called him or her a "close connection." Unfortunately, the case halted when more clues failed to materialize after police obtained a search warrant.

"Some days, I have a lot of anger," Krause said. "Some days, I feel it will be taken care of, eventually, when they meet their maker, they'll have to pay."

Who killed Ericka Dawn Brair? The girl who sparked fun and laughter.

"She was funny, she made everybody laugh," Krause said. "She could take people that were down and out and turn them around."

Krause says she is growing tired and frustrated with the vicious cycle of missed birthdays, holidays, and dark anniversaries of the events surrounding her daughter's murder.

"I'd like to go to my grave knowing that this is all settled and done," Krause said.

If you have any information that could help detectives, please call the Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit at 215-686-8477 or email

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.