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Former family friend accused of killing 23-year-old Stuart mother

'There was never a point where we were able to eliminate him from suspicion,' Sheriff William Snyder says of Eric Westergard
Posted at 9:44 PM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 08:22:34-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It's in Palm Beach County where a one-time family friend is accused of killing a 23-year-old Stuart mother.

Loved ones knew something was wrong when Perrin Damron didn't pick up her 2-year-old child. Investigators said quick police work and a doorbell camera helped zero in on the suspect.

"Our detectives, along with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and our marine assets, recovered Ms. Damron's body," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said Monday.

He said accused killer Eric Westergard led detectives to an overpass at the Okeechobee Waterway along State Road 710 near Indiantown. That's where they recovered Damron's body.

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Eric Westergard

"Our detectives were on it and very suspicious of him," Snyder said. "There was never a point where we were able to eliminate him from suspicion."

Snyder said loved ones knew something was not right when she failed to pick up her son at his father's house this past weekend. Within hours, she was reported missing.

"We began looking. We did what we always do, checked jails, checked hospitals," he said.

Investigators learned Sunday that Damron was last seen with Westergard, a family friend.

"It was actually a Ring camera putting Mr. Westergard back at the house after he originally picked her up at 6:30," Snyder said.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office gets involved because Westergard is believed to have committed the crime in its county.

"The suspect made incriminating statements," Snyder added. "There was some physical evidence found at the house and ultimately the suspect led us to the overpass."

Westergard, a Jupiter Farms resident, remained in the main Palm Beach County jail Monday night. He faces a charge of first-degree murder.