Eric Westerguard charged with murder of Perrin Damron missing Stuart, Florida woman after her body is found at canal. Suspect id as family friend.
A Florida mother reported missing on Friday was found dead in a canal on Monday with authorities arresting a family friend and charging him with murder.
Perrin Damron, 23, of Stuart, was reported missing when she didn’t meet up with a friend on Saturday as planned. She was last seen at 6 p.m. Friday, when the father of her 2-year-old child picked up the toddler from Damron’s home, TC Palm reported.
Suspicions were raised after Damron — a normally hands on mother — made no effort to get in touch with her child.
‘Ms. Damron was extremely careful and a loving mother – and had not been in touch with the child since Friday,’ Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.
Martin County Sheriff’s Office investigators soon learned that Eric William Westerguard, 45, came to Damron’s home shortly after the child’s father left, and she and Westerguard — described as a family friend on her mother’s side — left together. The investigation moved to Jupiter Farms, Palm Beach County, where Westerguard lives, and detectives there interviewed him.
No known motive
‘The suspect made incriminating statements,’ Snyder said. ‘There was some physical evidence found at the house.’
Westerguard reportedly led detectives to an overpass at the Okeechobee waterway at Highway 710, where they recovered Damron’s body in a canal, near Indiantown.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said Westerguard has been charged with first degree murder – premeditated and is being held without bond in the Palm Beach County Jail.
No cause of death was available because an autopsy hadn’t been done yet, Snyder said. The motive is unknown, and it’s under investigation whether anyone else was involved WPTV reported.
The suspect is known in Palm Beach County as the operator of an animal sanctuary where a kangaroo escaped in 2018. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission agents pursued the animal for two days before it was caught.
Westerguard pleaded guilty to four of 10 charges filed against him by Fish and Wildlife, TC Palm reported. A judge in the case withheld adjudication, which kept the guilty plea out of the legal system.