Mounting evidence in case of missing Allendale teen

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First at Five, May 14, 2007

ALLENDALE, S.C.---An Allendale teenager has been missing for over six months. Now the sheriff says he has new evidence in Erica Bradley's disappearance, but her family is still frustrated by the lack of progress.

Erica disappeared after leaving her job at a local restaurant. Extensive searches have turned up no sign of her.

She was last seen arguing with her boyfriend, Derrick Maner, in front of the Allendale County courthouse. Now new evidence from the sheriff's office may prove Maner had a hand in her disappearance.

Allendale County Sheriff Tom Carter says there's no doubt in his mind that Erica's disappearance was cold-blooded murder.

According to the sheriff, two separate DNA tests from state and county agencies found Erica's blood under her boyfriend's car.

If that's not enough, he says there's evidence that Derrick Maner may have even covered up a crime.

"We found a solution under the car to show they tried to wash out under the car, but I won't get into that," Sheriff Carter said.

Yet six months have now come and gone...and the only suspect in the case is still a free man.

"It's very frustrating," Erica's grandmother, Annie Ruth Wright, told News 12. "What is the holdup?"

Still wearing their hearts on their sleeves, Erica's family can't help but wonder why nothing has been done.

"We knew all the time," Wright said. "No doubt in my mind that it was her blood, so what are they waiting for to get him?"

But Sheriff Carter says his hands are tied. Despite the evidence, without proof Erica is in fact dead or alive, he fears the solicitor may not have enough proof to convict a man of murder.

"I feel there is a murderer in Allendale that is free," he said.

"I want them to prosecute him and tell us what he did to Erica and where she is," said Wright. "I want him behind bars."

Derrick Maner has maintained he has had nothing to do with her disappearance. When we asked for a comment, we were told by his family he did not wish to speak to us.

Calls to the solicitor's office have not been returned.

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