Authorities found the body of a missing Florida mother in a canal on Monday and have charged a family friend with her murder.
Perrin Damron, 23, was reported missing when she didn’t meet up with a friend on Saturday as planned, as CrimeOnline previously reported. 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.
“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 Palm Beach County, where Westerguard lives, and detectives there interviewed him.
“The suspect made incriminating statements,” Snyder said. “There was some physical evidence found at the house.”
Westerguard reportedly led detectives an overpass over the Okeechobee waterway at Highway 710, and they recovered Damron’s body in a canal in 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.
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.
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[Featured image: Perrin Damron. Inset: Eric William Westerguard/Martin County Sheriff’s Office]