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Loudoun County Cold Cases - Homicide
Posted by: Crime Solvers ()
Date: June 10, 2011 11:06AM

Loudoun County Crime Solvers Cold Cases
http://inter4.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=330&fmpath=/Information%20Wanted

Here's some background on this homicide...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Northern Va. Teen Vanishes
http://www.amw.com/fugitives/case.cfm?id=46879

In the summer of 2002, 14-year-old Erica Heather Smith had just completed the eighth grade in Ashburn, Va., a suburb of Washington D.C. She was enjoying her summer vacation, and all of the freedom that came along with it.

Erica lived at home with her father, William "Pete" Smith, and her mother, Pamela Dade. As a child, Erica was known to be exceptionally sweet. She had always loved being around family and friends. She'd played soccer and basketball, and had been a cheerleader in middle school.

As the years went by, Erica started to bloom. She was looking forward to getting her driver's license in a few years, and like most teenage girls, she began spending all of her time holed up in her bedroom, chatting on the telephone.

Pete says he would occasionally pick up the phone and hear a male's voice on the other end -- but to Erica's parents, this was just another normal sign that their little girl was growing up.

On July 29, 2002, Erica was at home babysitting her 10-year-old brother, Billy, while their parents were at work. Around lunchtime, Erica told her brother she was heading out to meet a friend, and that she'd be back in a little while.

But by nightfall, Erica still hadn't returned -- and even more troubling, the friend she'd supposedly gone to meet told Erica's parents she hadn't talked to or seen Erica that day.

Pete and Pam were panicked. When they found a list of phone numbers upstairs in their Erica's bedroom, they began calling every number, desperate to hear from anyone who might know where their daughter could be. But no one seemed to know anything.

With fear closing in around them, Erica's parents called police.

With no leads, and no suspects, homicide investigators began looking into Erica's personal life for clues -- and what they found shocked even veteran cops.

A Parent's Worst Nightmare

Erica's parents were panicked, desperate, and clinging to the hope that their daughter would come home soon.

But after eleven days, the search for Erica tragically ended in a secluded area of Northern Virginia, just outside Redskins Park.

Cops say two hikers were walking through the woods when they stumbled upon a shallow grave. Buried beneath the dirt were the remains of a teenage girl.

On August 19, 2002, Erica was laid to rest, only days before she was supposed to start her freshman year of high school.

The Secrets She Kept

It turned out that Erica had kept a diary, and in those diaries, cops found names and numbers of several guys with whom she'd apparently had sexual encounters. To cops, it was clear that Erica was living a lifestyle that was completely different from what her parents thought.

While Erica's parents thought she occasionally talked to boys on the phone, cops learned the reality was much more intense. They say 14-year-old Erica was known to chat on the phone with guys as old as 21 -- then sometimes go meet them at a gas station near her house.

There was so much Erica's parents didn't know about their daughter -- but eventually, Pete and Pam found the strength to read Erica's diary for the first time, hoping the entries inside would shed some light on her unexplained life and death.

Pete and Pam were shocked by how little they knew about Erica's secret life.

"As a mother that's sad. That's sad because I thought I knew my daughter, but I didn't," said Pam after reading the diaries.

But Erica's situation isn't as unique as it may seem.


Best-selling Author Sheds Light On Erica's Case

Police say this appears to be a manufacturer's label or tag, but they haven't been able to identify it.

When it comes to teens and the secrets they keep, few people understand them quite like Rosalind Wiseman, author of the New York Times Bestseller "Queen Bees and Wannabes." The book is the basis for the hit movie "Mean Girls."

Rosalind has spent nearly 20 years working directly with teens just like Erica, and has made it her goal to help parents and teachers understand the hidden world of teenage girls.

She sat down with AMW to read Erica's diary and to provide her expert insight into what Erica might have been going through leading up to her murder.

"This was a girl who really, really needed attention badly," says Rosalind. "One of the ways she felt really validated was in her relationships with, or the drama, that she was having in her interactions with guys."

One of the most heartbreaking entries for Pete and Pam to read was a section where Erica wrote about being pregnant -- a claim her friends later revealed to police was a lie, and something she told several boys whom she was seeing to keep them from leaving her.

"I cannot stress to you enough how so many girls get into this situation and are really desperate for the validation they get from relationships with boys," says Rosalind. "She would have absolutely said whatever she needed to say to have made her feel like she was getting affirmed, liked, felt attractive by the guy that was talking to her."

Erica's parents, along with police, can only wonder if Erica's false pregnancy scares may have been the motive for her murder.

Erica's friends told police that in the weeks leading up to her murder, she was anxiously waiting for an older guy she'd been seeing to return from a family vacation in Europe.

Cops believe she may have told him the same thing she told other boys about the possibility of being pregnant. Cops fear that a young man who suddenly gets news that he's having an unexpected child brought into the equation might have a motive for murder.

One of Erica's other boyfriends told cops that the morning she disappeared, she had called him, bragging that the older guy was back from Europe and was taking her on a shopping spree at a local mall that afternoon.

Just a short time after that phone call, Erica walked out of her house, never to return again. She was found wearing the same clothes she left the house in that day, leading cops to believe the person who came to pick her up is possibly the guy who'd just returned from Europe.

Cops say they haven't pinpointed who this person is -- but they believe several people who knew Erica at the time of her murder do.

Police Track Important Clues

Police have tracked many leads in this investigation, and so far have come up empty-handed. But there are several clues that could be important.

Near Erica's body, police found a small sticker that resembles a manufacturer's tag or label. Police believe it could have come from a European company, and are hoping someone in the public can help them identity the source of the sticker.

Another key piece of information is where Erica's body was found: it's an area between Waxpool Road and Loudoun County Parkway, near Redskin Park. Police believe that Erica's killer may have been to this spot several times.

Although that area has become more developed since the murder, it used to be a secluded party spot. Police are hoping to talk to anyone who used to spend time there in 2001 or 2002 because they may be able to provide information that will lead to the identity of Erica's killer.

Pete and Pam will forever be haunted by the secrets Erica kept. But they carry on, hoping each day will bring them closer to finding out who murdered their child. Cops hope someone in the public can help them bring some peace to Erica's family.

Wanted For:
Murder , Loudoun County , VA ; Jul 29, 2002
(Information valid as of August 3, 2009)

Police say 14-year-old Erica Smith left her home one afternoon and never returned.
Attachments:
Loudoun County Cold Cases - Erica Heather Smith.PNG

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Re: Loudoun County Cold Cases - Homicide
Posted by: McGruff ()
Date: September 04, 2011 12:05PM

Vigil for Erica Smith postponed
Friday, Aug. 26 by Jana Wagoner
http://www.loudountimes.com/index.php/news/article/vigil_for_erica_smith_postponed/

The vigil scheduled in memory of Erica Heather Smith, the 14-year-old Ashburn resident slain in 2002, has been rescheduled due to Hurricane Irene.

The vigil was set for 8 p.m. Aug. 27 at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Ashburn. It will likely be rescheduled for a day in September or early October.

LoudounTimes.com and the Loudoun Times-Mirror will publish the new date when it is determined.

No one has been charged in Erica’s death.

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Re: Loudoun County Cold Cases - Homicide
Posted by: Crimewatch ()
Date: September 08, 2011 07:24AM

Any updates on this?

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Re: Loudoun County Cold Cases - Homicide
Posted by: Letter to the Editor ()
Date: September 15, 2011 06:46AM

Letter to the Editor of the Loudoun Times
http://justice4caylee.forumotion.net/t7669-erica-heather-smith-14-yo-2002-ashburn-loudoun-va

Our family is furious that justice has not yet come for our
14-year-old daughter Erica Heather Smith, who was found murdered in a
shallow grave in Ashburn in 2002.

A message to the killer of Erica Smith from her mom: How can you live
with yourself knowing that you brutally murdered a child? A young
beautiful little girl. You made me a parent of a murdered child!

You put me into a world that is totally different from the world that
we used to know and want back so badly. It is so very hard to accept
and live with this each and every day! I pray every day that my daughter
Erica’s killer will do the right thing and turn himself in to law
enforcement.

I often wonder how can you live with yourself knowing that you
brutally murdered our 14-year-old daughter. How can you sleep at night?
Don’t you know that God knows what you did? And he sees your every move.
I hope and pray when you close your eyes at night that you see and are
reminded of how you brutally murdered my daughter. You do not deserve to
breathe the same air that law-abiding citizens breath. You need to own
up to what you did, and may God set you free of your awful sin.

I have no mercy for you as you had no mercy for my daughter on July
29, 2002. She trusted you and you took her life away. You chose to
murder Erica, and I choose not to have mercy on you. As you sleep at
night, I can’t because I know my daughter is not at peace. I hear my
daughter’s voice saying to me, “Mom don’t let him get away with this.”

If you now have children/family, how would you feel if it was one of
your family members that was murdered? Wouldn’t you want justice?! You
are a heartless monster, and it’s time that you pay for your vicious,
brutal and savage murder of our beautiful 14-year-old daughter.

You will never have peace in your life until you confess.

A reward is being offered to anyone that has any information to help
solve the murder of Erica Heather Smith. To find out more about our
beloved daughter’s story that was aired on “America’s Most Wanted”
please see the following:

Log onto: http://www.amw.com

Look in the upper right hand corner – “Search AMW”

Type in the block: “Erica”

Then a drop down will appear

Select “unknown Erica Smith Killer”


Sincerely,

Pamela Smith

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From the parents and family of Erica Heather Smith
Posted by: McGruff ()
Date: September 15, 2011 06:48AM

From the parents and family of Erica Heather Smith
Thursday, Aug. 4 by Pamela and William Smith
http://www.loudountimes.com/index.php/news/article/from_the_parents_and_family_of_erica_heather_smith355/

Our family and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division need help from the public locally or wherever you may reside. We strongly believe, along with investigators, that there is someone or a few people who have information that for whatever reason they are withholding that can and will solve this senseless, vicious and cold blooded murder committed on our beautiful beloved daughter 14-year-old Erica Heather Smith.

We can’t stress this fact enough – murder is the most serious crime one can commit, especially when a child is the victim. When this savage murdered Erica, he murdered a part of all her immediate family – her mother, father, brother, sisters and grandparents. But most of all he took something he had no right to take – her life. He took her right to live and any hopes of living a full life. He took all the dreams and goals she had that inspired Erica the most. Erica wanted to make a positive difference in this world spiritually and in many other aspects of life.

The world is not a better place without Erica Heather Smith, but it would be a much better and safer world if this vicious child murderer were caught and put behind bars. The murderer needs to begin to pay his debt to society for this horrible crime that he has committed against Erica.

Erica’s murder investigation is now nine years old.

Just imagine if this were your daughter, your sister, your niece, your cousin, your granddaughter or even your best friend. Wouldn’t you want swift justice for that loved one? Well, so do we as Erica’s family. Please help us get justice for 14-year-old Erica Heather Smith. She wanted to live just as much as any 14-year-old girl. She loved life, family and the God above.

Over the past nine years, it has not gotten any easier. The in-depth pain just gets worse as time goes on. We as her family are living with this deep hurting pain each and every day. All we can do now is fight for justice for Erica as this monster has silenced her voice; now we have to be Erica’s voice. Please help us get justice for Erica.

Again, please have the courage to do the right thing and help us get justice for our beautiful beloved daughter 14-year-old Erica Heather Smith. She would have been 23 years old on July 18 if she had not been murdered.


How to help

Anyone who may have information on the Erica Heather Smith case is asked to call Investigators T.F. Butler or Kelly Poland at 703-777-0475. To remain anonymous, call 703-777-1919.
A large reward is available for information that leads to an arrest and an indictment. No matter how trivial you think the information you may have is, please help her family and do the right thing by contacting the investigators.


Donations for the reward fund can be sent to:

BB&T Bank
22550 Davis Drive
Sterling, VA 20164
Checks should be made out to the Sully Elementary PTO
c/o Erica Smith Memorial Fund

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Re: Loudoun County Cold Cases - Homicide
Posted by: Concerned Parents ()
Date: September 30, 2011 06:51AM

It's incidents like this that make me question how safe our streets are in Loudoun County.

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Re: Loudoun County Cold Cases - Homicide
Posted by: Ok ()
Date: October 14, 2011 05:17PM

I hear ya. These kinds of incidents are giving me second thoughts about moving there. Did they find out who the murderer was?

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Family of Murdered Ashburn Teen Hold Vigil
Posted by: *****Updated****** ()
Date: August 04, 2012 03:57PM

Family of Murdered Ashburn Teen Hold Vigil
Darcy Spencer reports.
http://www.nbcwashington.com/video/#!/news/local/Family-of-Murdered-Ashburn-Teen-Hold-Vigil/164976626

The parents of an Ashburn, Va. teen murdered ten years ago are holding out hope her killer will be found. Erica Smith's family held a vigil Friday night to keep her memory alive.

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.


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Event Brings Cold Cases to Light, Focuses on Child Safety
Posted by: McGruff - The Crime Dog! ()
Date: August 15, 2012 11:52AM

Event Brings Cold Cases to Light, Focuses on Child Safety
Investigators hope to find new leads in decade-old murder of an Ashburn girl
By Dusty Smith
August 5, 2012
http://ashburn.patch.com/articles/erica-smith

During the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office’s first Child Victim Awareness Day, Sheriff Michael Chapman highlighted a new cold case initiative he's instituted since taking office in January, saying he hopes to find justice for 14-year-old murder victim Erica Heather Smith.

Erica disappeared after leaving her home in the vicinity of Junction Plaza in Ashburn and heading to a friend’s house on July 29, 2002. Her body was found in a shallow grave along Broad Run near an old pump house not far from Redskins Park 11 days later.

“We believe this is not a random act of violence, but rather Erica knew her assailant,” Chapman said Saturday, adding the cold case unit is re-interviewing witnesses and reexamining evidence. “Furthermore, we have reason to believe that there are individuals who have information pertinent to this ongoing investigation, that for whatever reason, have failed to come forward.”

Erica’s father William Smith said it’s important to realize the lack of an arrest means a killer remains on the loose, possibly still in the community.

“It’s so important that we try to get this child murderer off the streets,” he said, adding that no 14-year-old girl deserves to die.

Advances in forensic science since the crime now allow investigators to examine smaller samples of evidence, Chapman said.

“All evidence in Erica’s case was preserved,” he said. “We fully intend to capitalize on the new investigative technologies to handle these types of cases.”

Chapman put Major Richard Fiano—who has 35 years of law enforcement experience, including 30 years with the DEA—in charge of the cold case unit.

“We need your help,” Fiano said. “We know there’s information out there that we don’t have yet. Together, I think we can solve this crime and bring some closure to the Smith family, who really, really deserve it.”

Cynthia Robinson, who spoke on behalf of the family during a press conference, said it’s important for people to realize that information they consider to be unimportant may be key to the case.

“No bit of information is too small,” she said. “If you hear anything at all, please contact them. It’s our hope today that through our awareness the person or persons who did this will be brought to justice.”

Pamela Smith, Erica’s mother, called the Child Victim Awareness Day “amazing” and hoped it would help parents and children learn how to stay safe.

“I commend the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office for having child safety awareness day to help other children be alert, be wise and be safe,” she said, adding that it’s important understand that even acquaintances can be dangerous. “Be careful of who your friends are. Your friends aren’t always who you think they are.”

For more information about the case, visit www.loudoun.gov/ericasmith

A reward remains in effect for the case. Anyone with information about the case or possible suspect should contact the sheriff’s department at 703-777-1919 or Loudoun Crime Solvers at 1-877-777-1931. Investigators may also be contacted online at the website listed above.

Sheriff Chapman and LCSO spokeswoman Liz Mills prepare for the announcement about Erica Smith Saturday. William Smith, Erica's father, stands in the background, wearing a red T-shirt. Credit: Dusty Smith
Attachments:
b269cbf317bafd152994246af384b85e.jpg

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Re: From the parents and family of Erica Heather Smith
Posted by: ***Updated*** ()
Date: July 27, 2014 05:38AM

Subject linked to 2002 murder of Va. teen committed suicide
http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/local/ashburn/2014/07/25/2002-cold-case-loudoun-county-erica-smith/13163377/

ASHBURN, Va. (WUSA9) -- The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office has linked a subject to the 2002 murder of a 14-year-old girl.

Officials say the person responsible for murdering Erica Heather Smith 12 years ago committed suicide during the course of the investigation. The reason behind the subject's suicide is unclear.

"This announcement comes after a comprehensive review of the documentation and evidence collected over the past twelve years. Specifically, in the past two years, since the creation of the Cold Case initiative within the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, the case was worked with the intent of considering a broader perspective of the relationships developed and a meticulous review of the evidence collected," Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman said in a news release Friday.

Erica Heather Smith disappeared on July 29, 2002. Her body was found 11 days later in a grave along Broad Run Creek near an old pump house. The area is in Ashburn near the intersection of Beaumeade Circle and Loudoun County Parkway.

Chapman says he felt it was important to share the information with the Smith family as the as the twelfth anniversary of their daughter's murder approached.

Officials have not released specific information about the subject.

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