A Florida Man Was Free For A Year Before He Killed — Again

Eric Pierson had already done two stints in prison — one for attempted murder and one for second degree murder — when Erika Verdecia went missing.

Erika Verdecia, pictured here, went missing in late September 2021.

Eric Pierson had already done two stints in prison — one for attempted murder and one for second degree murder — when Erika Verdecia went missing.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death")

In late summer 2021, Lynette Agosto was hopeful for her baby sister’s future. The two had always been close; Erika was seven years younger than Lynette and had followed her everywhere when they were children. As Erika became an adult, she struggled with addiction, but she eventually settled in Florida with her mother, where she gave birth to a daughter and got sober. The sisters were planning to buy a house together when Erika went missing that September.

On Sept. 27, 2021, Lynette received a frantic call from her mother who was worried about Erika — she hadn’t heard from her younger daughter in three days. Erika had left her mother’s house on Sept. 24 to go buy cigarettes and hadn’t returned. Phone calls went to voicemail and her social media posts had stopped.

Lynette’s stomach dropped. It was so unlike Erika to be out of touch.

Her mother went to the Sunrise, Florida, police department to report her missing, but the authorities brushed her off for almost two weeks before a detective was finally assigned to the case.

Because of Erika’s history with addiction, the detective checked local hospitals and area police departments to see if there was any chance a relapse had caused Erika to be admitted to a hospital or arrested as a Jane Doe. While he turned up no leads at hospitals or jails, he did get a lead when a post finally appeared on social media. It purported to be a new profile from Erika, and it implied the woman was fine and wanted to be left alone. Her family remained adamant that the message was absolutely not from Erika, instead they insisted it could be a childhood friend of Erika’s who had an unhealthy obsession with her.

Records from the internet service provider sent police to the friend’s door, and he admitted to making a fake social media account. Erika, he said, had been at his house on Sept. 27, but the man insisted she had left in a white pickup truck and he didn’t know who was driving. Police were given permission to look around his home and found no signs of Erika and nothing obviously amiss.

Meanwhile, Erika’s family kept searching for her. They researched and tried to track her movements on the last day they knew she’d been seen. They peppered the neighborhood and areas she frequented with fliers. Eventually, another friend of Erika’s came to her mother with a vital piece of information: he saw Erika at a nearby gas station in a truck, and the driver was a man named Eric Pierson.

Erika’s mother and sister searched the internet for information about Eric Pierson, and their blood ran cold: Pierson was less than a year out of prison after serving a 25-year sentence for murder.

Watch how police finally found out what happened to Erika on Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death on ID on Oct. 16 at 9/8c. More episodes are available now on discovery+.

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