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As the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office held a Child Victim Awareness event, Sheriff Michael Chapman announced a new cold case unit that will focus on 17 death investigation cases that have grown cold over the years.
For William and Pam Smith the event and the new focus is a mix of hope that their daughter's killer will finally be caught and a deep, raw sadness they've lived with for the last 10 years.
Erica Smith was only 14 when she disappeared on July 29, 2002. Her body was found in a shallow grave 11 days later along Broad Run Creek near an old pump house--not far from Redskins Park.
"Because her body was found so many days after the homicide that the forensic capabilities at that time, there wasn't much we could do," Chapman says. "Now we're looking back and interviewing people and using the latest forensic technology based on the evidence we collected."
"The legal closure is what we're looking for now," William Smith adds. "The emotional closure is something we will struggle with for the rest of our lives."
Anyone with any information pertaining to Erica's murder is asked to call the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office. Investigators say even something that seems like a minor detail could go a long way in cracking the case.