The sad tale of Erica Richardson is all too common. In 1996, the pharmacy manager was introduced to John Feiga. Erica was instantly attracted, and for several months, Feiga treated her like royalty, surprising her with flowers and other small gifts and showering her with affection.
Erica thought she had found her knight in shining armor. She couldn’t have been more wrong.
On December 8, 1997, Erica was stabbed to death in her Valrico, Florida, home, 15 miles east of Tampa. John Feiga was the prime suspect, but he was never tried for the crime because he was murdered four months later.
John Feiga is presumed to have murdered his former girlfriend, Erica Richardson. No one knows who killed Feiga.
Erica Richardson was the first person in her family to graduate from college.
After finishing her degree in microbiology from the University of Florida, she obtained a Pharmacy degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Erica returned home and accepted an offer to manage a Walmart pharmacy in Seffner, 14 miles east of Tampa. She also bought a home in Valrico.
Erica had offers from larger pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies which would have paid her more money. Still, she wanted to be near her parents, Sam and Imogene, who lived in Progress Village, 12 miles south of Seffner.
The only thing missing in Erica’s life was a suitable mate. Sam and Imogene initially liked John Feiga. He was a respected mechanic and had previously worked for the Tampa Electric Company.
Feiga was initially charming and treated Erica well. Shortly after moving into her home, however, he became jealous and controlling of his girlfriend. Erica told her mother she was beginning to fear him.
As her affections for John deteriorated, Erica asked him to move out; John did, but he did not want her to move on without him.
Feiga continued to harass Erica by following her and frequently visiting the pharmacy for no reason other than to ask her to take him back. After she repeatedly rejected him, Feiga’s ire grew, and he threatened his former girlfriend with physical harm. Erica then obtained a restraining order against him, but the harassment continued, and Feiga was arrested.
Not even several days in jail and the threat of prison time, however, deterred him.
On December 6, 1997, as Erica and Imogene were Christmas shopping at a Tampa mall, Feiga approached them. He was calm and apologetic. Despite the restraining order she had against him, Erica agreed to meet with him. She told her mom she and Feiga were going to her home to discuss their situation.
Imogene pleaded with her daughter not to go with him, but Erica assured her everything would be fine. She was wrong.
Imogene phoned her daughter’s home repeatedly over the following two days but received no answer. She became panicked when she phoned the pharmacy and was told that Erica, uncharacteristically, had neither shown up for work nor called with an explanation.
Imogene drove to Erica’s home and was alarmed to see John’s truck in the driveway. Peering through a window, she saw a bloody knife on the floor. She summoned Erica’s neighbor, a highway patrolman.
They found Erica’s blood-soaked body in the kitchen. Her murder was clearly a crime of passion; she had been stabbed 67 times.
The prime suspect was her former boyfriend and the last person with whom she was seen, John Feiga. He, too, had not arrived for work.
Feiga had been seen driving Erica’s 1992 Honda on the day she was last seen. It was located 770 miles away on December 23, two weeks after Erica was last seen, in a parking lot near his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. None of Feiga’s family or friends in the area claimed to have recently seen him.
Signs of a struggle were found in Erica’s kitchen. Tests showed her blood had been mixed with that of another person. Detectives suspected it was Feiga’s, but they could not locate a sample of his DNA for comparison.
They soon, however, obtained Feiga’s DNA which confirmed their suspicions and closed the case, but not in the way they had hoped.
On April 13, 1998, five months after the murder of Erica Richardson in Florida, the body of an unidentified man was found in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River. The man remained unidentified for over a decade until July 2008, when the mixed DNA found on Erica’s body matched the John Doe’s.
Dental records confirmed the remains were those of John Feiga. DNA testing confirmed he was Erica Richardson’s killer.
Perhaps poetic justice had been served; John had also been murdered. Authorities have not disclosed how he died, and his killer remains unknown.
If you believe you have information relating to the murder of John Feiga, please contact the St. Mary Parish, Louisiana Sheriff’s Office at (337) 828-1960.
Although John Feiga was not found guilty in a court of law, authorities have declared him the killer of Erica Richardson.
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Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in Arkansas. Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)
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