Allendale sheriff hoping for DNA evidence in teen's disappearance

By: Diane Cho Email
By: Diane Cho Email

April 9, 2007

ALLENDALE, S.C.---It's been six months since 17-year-old Erica Bradley disappeared.

Both the Allendale community and the family have desperately sought answers, and now the sheriff's office says there's nothing else they can do.

November 6 was when Erica's cousin says he last saw Erica, arguing with her boyfriend Derek Manor near the courthouse.

According to the incident reports, the couple continued their argument down the road, and she's been missing ever since.

But the sheriff says they don't have enough evidence for an arrest.

She was a bright, dedicated young student with a then five-month-old baby to care for. By all accounts, and according to the sheriff himself, she was a girl who had nothing to gain but everything to lose.

But six months have now come and gone since anyone has seen the missing teen, and Sheriff Tom Carter says he's ruling out every possibility.

"Waiting on one more lab test of blood and results from some 320 subpoenas we sent to every hospital in this region, to North Carolina and Georgia, to make sure there are no Jane Does," Sheriff Carter said.

Days of intense searching have led nowhere, even with multiple agencies across the state and country reaching out to help.

"Very frustrating," Sheriff Carter said. "This is something that stays with me every day."

And according to the sheriff, the only suspect in the case remains a free man.

Derek Manor, Erica's boyfriend, maintains he had nothing to do with her disappearance. But the sheriff is hoping a new DNA test will prove otherwise.

This time, officers say it's blood found underneath Derek's car...blood the sheriff believes may have belonged to the mother of their child.

"The biggest thing is building a case the solicitor will take. That's our biggest problem. Without a body they're skeptical, but I really feel sure with this next DNA evidence we'll have enough to secure a warrant."

The sheriff also said Derek claims that blood was not his girlfriend's, but the blood from a dog he accidentally hit that same week. The sheriff says he's confident the test results will prove otherwise.

Of course we'll keep our eye on those results as well and have them for you when we get them.


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