By Jessica Vallejo

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Family and friends gathered Sunday to remember Erika Verdecia who police say was killed by a man who was out on parole for a previous murder.

Balloons and butterflies were released into the sky for her beautiful soul, said Verdecia’s mother Carmen.

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“We are making sure her spirit flys high because of the way she was killed,” she added.

Erika Verdecia (Source: Sunrise Police)

The 33-year-old went missing in September. Weeks later Sunrise police recovered her body from a canal near Fort Lauderdale.

According to Sunrise police, 54-year-old Eric Pierson confessed in great detail to the killing of Verdecia. According to his arrest report, he said he stabbed her multiple times and later dumped her body in the canal, attempting to weigh it down with rocks.

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Eric Pierson (Source: Broward Sheriff’s Office)

Investigators also discovered that Pierson had been previously convicted of second-Degree Murder for the strangling death of 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker in Davie. He served 26 years of his 40-year sentence and was released just a year ago.

Carmen Verdecia said they want a change and justice.

“We won’t stop now until Erika’s Law is passed, which is if you murder someone you won’t get out of jail or see the light of day. We will make sure of that,” said Carmen Verdecia.

Pierson has been charged with first degree murder, he’s being held without bond.

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Verdecia left behind a six-year-old daughter. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.

Jessica Vallejo