Police: Man confesses to killing missing Sunrise woman Erika Verdecia

According to Sunrise police, 54-year-old Eric Pierson confessed, in great detail, to killing 33-year-old Erika Verdecia.

SUNRISE, Fla. – Authorities in Broward County have made an arrest in the case of a missing woman from Sunrise.

According to Sunrise police, 54-year-old Eric Pierson confessed, in great detail, to killing 33-year-old Erika Verdecia.

According to an arrest report obtained by Local 10 News, officers began searching for Verdecia after her mother reported her missing on Sept. 28, four days after she had last seen her daughter.

Verdecia’s mother told police that after speaking to Verdecia’s friends, she learned that her daughter was with Pierson on the morning of Sept. 25 and that the two were stopped by police, the report stated.

Sunrise couple worried after not hearing from adult daughter for nearly 2 weeks

Police ended up speaking to Pierson multiple times after finding inconsistencies with what he told investigators about his time with Verdecia.

Carmen Verdecia, mother of Erika Verdecia, is not only devastated over her daughter’s murder, but furious.

“She didn’t deserve this,” Carmen Verdecia said. “She wasn’t that kind of person.”

Investigators also discovered that Pierson had been previously convicted of Second-Degree Murder in for the strangling death of 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker in Davie. He was also convicted of Attempted First-Degree Murder in 1985 and served four years of an 18-year sentence.

In 2020, Pierson was out on supervised release, only serving 26 years of his 40-year sentence for Whitaker’s killing.

Police said it would be one year before he killed Erika Verdecia.

“Why is this killer on the street,” Carmen Verdecia said. “Why did the justice system fail us?”

When officers searched Pierson’s vehicle, they found blood in the back seat, the report said.

That same day, Pierson’s girlfriend called detectives to tell them about troubling statements Pierson had made and about rocks and debris piling up in a canal behind her home, according to the report.

A dive team pulled a body later identified as Verdecia’s from the canal.

33-year-old Erika Verdecia was last seen by her parents on Sept. 24. (WPLG)

According to the arrest report, when police questioned Pierson again, he admitted to killing Verdecia by stabbing her twice in the neck and once in each eye with a screwdriver, but he said it was in self-defense. He also admitted to dumping her body in the canal and attempting to weigh it down with rocks, per the report.

Investigators determined that based on the way she was killed, and the size difference between the two (Pierson is 6-foot-8 and weighs 240 lbs. while Verdecia was 5-foot-7 and weighed 160 lbs.), Pierson intended to end her life.

He was arrested on Saturday on a charge of First Degree Murder and booked into the Broward County Main Jail.

Surveillance video shows Erika Verdecia getting into Pierson’s truck the week of the disappearance.

“She didn’t know she was with a killer,” Carmen Verdecia said. “I don’t know how she met him.”

The family said they want justice not only for their daughter, but Pierson’s other victims.

“We are going to do everything we have to so the (doctor) can tell me why my daughter is dead (and) why they let a killer out,” Carmen Verdecia said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family of Erika Verdecia.

It can be found by clicking or tapping here.

About the Authors:

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.