Details of Disappearance
Erin was last seen late on June 3, 2001 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She asked her parents if she could spent the night at a friend's home in the 100 black of 12th Street southeast. She had gone to the friend's earlier, at 8:45 p.m., to accompany her to the movie theater but the friend wasn't home. Erin's parents agreed to let her go, and a neighbor, Curtis Padgett, gave her a ride to the friend's home.
Padgett stated when they arrived, a dark-colored two-door early 1990s model Chevrolet Impala or Cavalier with dark tinted rear windows pulled up the curb of Erin's friend's house. It was driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Erin spoke to the occupants for a short time, then got into the backseat of the car, saying she would get a ride with them.
She has never been heard from again. The Chevrolet was unfamiliar to Erin's friends and family, but Padgett said she seemed to know the people inside.
Police classified her case as a runaway, but Erin's family believes she may have been taken against her will and may be in danger. She didn't take her day timer, makeup case, or any other personal belongings with her, and none of her friends have heard from her since she disappeared, which is very uncharacteristic of her.
In March 2023, Padgett was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Dennis First, a 64-year-old Cedar Rapids man who was found dead in his apartment in May 2007. The two men had been friends. Investigators believe Padgett killed First by stabbing and/or cutting him during an argument. They haven't said whether they think Padgett could be involved in Erin's disappearance as well.
The investigation into Erin's disappearance leans towards the theory that gang members in Cedar Rapids and an area of Chicago, Illinois called "ghost town" may have involved in her case.
She may have been seen in the spring of 2002 at a convenience store in Cedar Rapids, sitting in the backseat of a car with Illinois license plates. The witness knew Erin well and was sure the girl in the vehicle was her. Police, when called, were unable to locate her or the vehicle, however.
Erin has relatives in Nevada but none of them have heard from her. She lived with her father, stepmother and three siblings when she disappeared, and was a freshman at Metro High School. Her school attendance was spotty.
Erin's case remains unsolved. Many agencies still classify her as a runaway.