Ericka Weems was the entire package deal. She had magnificence, brains and expertise. She was enjoyable and outgoing, and he or she cherished to sing and dance, it is smart that she was a cheerleader when she was youthful. However that’s not all. Ericka had basketball abilities too.
In response to her father, Darrell Weems, when Ericka and her siblings had been rising up, everybody in the home was both scrambling to get to a basketball event or busy learning for an examination.
“All of my children had been on the glory roll,” Darrell instructed Dateline. “They graduated on the prime of their class.”
Ericka was the center baby of two siblings, an older sister, Shermaine Weems-Reed, and a youthful brother, Brandon Weems. Her mom was a household physician and her father labored in an area manufacturing unit. Shermaine instructed Dateline that after they had been children, Ericka may very well be the pesky little sister, however as they bought older, nothing might hold them aside.
“Ericka was my finest buddy,” Shermaine mentioned. “I talked to her day-after-day. Generally 10 instances a day.”
Ericka graduated in 2006 from The Ohio State College with a level in Human Growth and Household Sciences. She achieved her grasp’s in educating in 2007. That’s when Ericka opened Recess Little one Growth Heart, a daycare middle in Columbus, Ohio.
Her father Darrell instructed Dateline that Ericka at all times had a love for youngsters and the youngsters actually cherished her again.
“I used to name her when she was babysitting and he or she would say, ‘Dad, you at all times name once I put the youngsters to sleep,’” he mentioned.
Greater than six months in the past, 37-year-old Ericka was dwelling life to the fullest. She moved again to her hometown of Akron to be nearer to her household. She was engaged on opening her second daycare facility there. All she wanted now was the constructing. In the mean time, she ran the daycare out of her house.
The COVID-19 pandemic compelled Ericka to close down her authentic daycare in Columbus, however mates say she was relieved to concentrate on this new chapter in her life.
“Ericka was within the happiest place I believe I’d ever seen her,” Ericka’s buddy Christian Ball instructed Dateline.
Christian defined to Dateline that Ericka was excited that she had lastly paid off bank card debt, her house was virtually paid for and he or she had lately picked out a constructing for her daycare.
Ericka was additionally identified to be very concerned in her neighborhood in Akron. She even helped discovered a corporation known as Younger Black Professionals Coalition, which supplies scholarships to highschool college students in addition to mentorship packages for younger adults.
“She was simply throughout superb,” Shermaine added.
Ericka was identified by her household and mates to be caring and reliable. So when nobody might get in contact together with her on November 2, 2020, the day she was speculated to babysit for a buddy, her family members started to fret.
“I simply knew this isn’t like Ericka to not decide up her cellphone,” sister Shermaine instructed Dateline.
Shermaine and her husband John Reed drove to Ericka’s house on Hardesty Boulevard to verify on her. Once they arrived, the again door was open. They walked inside and found a grotesque scene. Ericka was useless of an obvious gunshot wound, the Akron Police would later announce. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Workplace mentioned in November that her dying is being investigated as a murder.
It was clear to her family members, Ericka had been murdered. What wasn’t clear to anybody who knew Ericka was who might probably have needed to hurt her.
“She was so unproblematic that it simply completely is unnecessary,” Ericka’s buddy Christian instructed Dateline.
For household and mates, it has been tough to imagine this may very well be a random crime, however it’s much more tough to think about somebody she knew wanting Ericka useless. When Darrell heard the information of his daughter’s dying, he was heartbroken.
“It was horrible,” he instructed Dateline. “I couldn’t imagine it. Who would need to damage her?”
Darrell recollects spending time with Ericka on Halloween evening after they watched The Ohio State play Penn State collectively. Darrell instructed Dateline that Ericka obtained a cellphone name and he or she instructed him she was leaving to fulfill a buddy. He mentioned he thinks again on that evening and wonders if issues would have been completely different had he requested extra questions.
“I want I might’ve pressed her extra,” Darrell instructed Dateline. “However she’s grown, so you’ll be able to’t blame your self. However I do blame myself.”
That evening was the final time he would see his daughter alive.
Ericka’s sister Shermaine instructed Dateline she was involved when she later discovered about one of many final textual content messages Ericka despatched earlier than her dying. Shermaine mentioned the textual content learn “I opened the door for a stranger in my towel as a result of I believed it was you lol.”
When Shermaine discovered of this message, she thought it was odd that her sister by no means instructed her about this uncommon encounter.
“It’s unusual that she wouldn’t point out that to me,” Shermaine mentioned.
The textual content message started to lift extra questions for the Weems household, who instructed Dateline the knowledge was offered to police for the investigation.
“Why would any individual simply out of the blue knock in your door and it’s a stranger,” Shermaine added.
Six months have handed, however the wounds from Ericka’s dying are nonetheless recent for the Weems household. Including to that ache is the worry that Ericka’s case could go unsolved. Shermaine instructed Dateline she is pissed off and confused by what she says has been an absence of communication between legislation enforcement and the household all through this investigation.
“She’s not going to get thrown underneath the bus,” Shermaine mentioned. “I do know it’s a whole lot of murders in Akron, however she didn’t deserve that.”
Shermaine instructed Dateline she seems like she’s been compelled to play detective in her personal sister’s homicide case. Replaying the day she and her husband found Ericka’s physique and considering of the smallest particulars trying to find something that may result in Ericka’s killer.
“It’s not about to be similar to, ‘Oh, she was one other Black woman murdered in her house,’” Shermaine mentioned. “You violated her privateness and then you definately murdered her. That’s simply an excessive amount of for me. That’s not OK.”
Lieutenant Michael Miller, Police Info Officer for the Akron Police Division, gave Dateline this assertion concerning the investigation into Ericka’s homicide:
“The Weems investigation continues to be ongoing and lively. Investigators are working diligently to establish the suspect or suspects concerned. Detectives have and can proceed to comply with up on all credible leads. Each investigation has its personal challenges, some distinctive to the actual investigation. Though the incident occurred months in the past, we’re dedicated to fixing the case.”
Again in November, NBA star LeBron James made a public plea in search of data within the case. James is childhood mates with Ericka’s brother, Brandon, who’s the director of scouting for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He tweeted: “AKRON OHIO!! My brother’s sister was murdered this previous weekend in her house! My brother household want solutions to why and by whom. My metropolis I want y’all to go to work and discover out who did this terrible, shameful, disgusting factor to such a caring, loving angel!”
The Cleveland Cavaliers are providing a reward of as much as $10,000 reward to anybody with data resulting in the identification, arrest, and indictment of the individual or individuals accountable for the capturing dying of Ericka Weems. A further reward of as much as $5,000 can be being provided by the Summit County Crime Stoppers.
Anybody with data within the case is requested to please contact the Akron Police Division at 330-374-2490. Callers can stay nameless.